As part of any consultation, Dr. Ophelia is always ready to perform a full skin examination to look for skin pre-cancers or cancers. As part of your management plan, Dr. Ophelia will give personalized advice regarding sun protection and skin surveillance.
Benign age and sun exposure related skin changes
The natural aging process and excessive sun exposure results in significant changes in the skin. Some of these changes may be of cosmetic concern, and if they are affecting you Dr. Ophelia can advise on effective treated.
Sun spots and redness can develop with age and as a result of excessive sun exposure, particularly in fair skinned individuals. Both can be treated successfully with intense pulsed light therapy (IPL) or lasers more targeted at pigment or blood vessels.
Seborrhoeic warts or keratosis, are waxy like ‘stuck on’ lesions that can be quite itchy. There is a genetic tendency and usually increase in number as you age. It is important to remember that seborrhoeic warts or keratosis are benign skin lesions that do not progress to skin cancer. However, if your seborrhoeic warts or keratoses are causing concern for cosmetic reasons or are symptomatic, they can easily be treated with cryotherapy or surgically removed.
Furthermore, the development of fine lines, wrinkles and loss of volume are other age and sun related changes that can occur. Dr. Ophelia can provide muscle-relaxing injections, dermal fillers and laser based treatments to treat these changes, if they are of particular concern to you.
Actinic keratoses are red, scaly areas of sun damage. There is a small chance they could progress into the squamous cell carcinoma type of skin cancer, so Dr. Ophelia would recommend treating them. Actinic keratosis can easily be treated with cryotherapy, topical chemotherapy creams, photodynamic therapy (PDT) or surgical treatment.
Non melanoma skin cancers
Non melanoma skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, are often related to excessive sun exposure and ageing.
Basal cell carcinomas
Basal cell carcinomas or ‘rodent’ ulcers are tumours that grown slowly, often over a period of years. Basal cell carcinomas usually present on sun exposed areas of skin, but can occur anywhere. Dr. Ophelia will undertake a clinical diagnosis and may recommend a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and plan the most appropriate treatment. Her treatment options include liquid nitrogen therapy, topical chemotherapy regimens, photodynamic therapy (PDT), surgical removal by shave removal or excision, Mohs micrographic surgery or radiotherapy.
Squamous cell carcinomas
Squamous cell carcinomas are faster growing tumours that grow over a period of weeks to months. Squamous cell carcinomas also present on sun exposed sites, but can occur anywhere. Dr. Ophelia will undertake a clinical diagnosis, with a skin biopsy taken to confirm the diagnosis and plan management. She will usually always recommend surgical treatment for a squamous cell carcinoma.
Solar lentigos and lentigo maligna
Solar lentigos (or age/ sun spots) are manifestations of sun exposure and age, particularly in fair skinned individuals. Dr. Ophelia may recommend a skin biopsy be taken to exclude the possibility of any cancerous changes. Solar lentigos can be treated with light or laser based therapies such as intense pulsed light laser (IPL), NdYag or pulsed dye laser (PDL). Sometimes solar lentigos can develop cancerous changes, known as lentigo maligna, which can be treated with topical chemotherapy cream or surgical removal.
Melanoma is when there is uncontrolled growth of the pigment cells (melanocytes) in the skin. Sun exposure and genetic predisposition are known to play roles in the development of melanoma. Usually a mole is noted to be new, or an existing mole changes rapidly. In such case, for any suspicious mole, Dr Ophelia would recommend removing it surgically. The tissue removed is then analysed by a Consultant Histopathologist. All melanoma diagnoses are discussed in a multi-disciplinary team meeting to ensure gold standard care. At this point Dr. Ophelia will discuss the diagnosis and management options available to you, which usually includes further surgery and possible imaging.
If you are interested in meeting with Dr. Ophelia Veraitch’s at her Harley Street practice, book a consultation today or read more about her services here.