There is something that keeps occurring that I need to share. Most of the people I care for are adults, and many of them are well over the young age of 65. However, during assessments, I am finding a situation that happens over and over again.
Anyone who has worked with me knows I am not shy and thoroughly inspect my patient’s body and skin, as we, as advance practitioners, have the responsibility to do so. Yes, I take the extra time to do this. I may not be the fastest nurse practitioner in oncology, but I am definitely one of the most thorough. So, as I inspect my patient’s skin, I often see areas that are concerning.
Many times, when I ask a patient about the suspect skin area, I get one of two common responses that go something like this: “Oh yes, I have basal cell carcinoma and have an appointment with my dermatologist to have this remove in next week.” Or, “no I haven’t seen a dermatologist, do I need to?”
I know with all that is going on in their health, another doctor is not something they want to do. But, yes, I ask them to go see a dermatologist to rule out any possible malignant issues. Especially with the increasing prevalence of all forms of skin cancer.
Summer is a great time to remind our patients to also keep slathering on the sunscreen and to remain hydrated.
So, this blog is a reminder to inspect your patient’s skin and to ask them to see a dermatologist if anything looks suspicious. How do you know if something looks suspect? Remember the ABCDE acronym!
A – Asymmetry: one half of the area does not match the other half.
B – Border: the borders are irregular, such as being blurry or jagged around the edges.
C – Color: An area of skin (or mole) that is more than one color or hue needs to be further evaluated.
D – Diameter: If the entire diameter is larger than the end of a pencil eraser (about 6mm) than this also needs to be further evaluated.
E – Evolution: Any change in the mole such as size, shape, or shade of color, along with bleeding, itching, and tenderness warrants concern. Also, if the skin or mole is raised above the skin’s surface, this may be an area of concern as well.
Do you have any skin stories that helped your patients seek out further consultation or treatment? If so, what was the outcome?