FREE skin cancer screenings May 9th

It is that time of year again–May is skin cancer awareness month. Tuesday, May 9th at 5pm Dr. Bader will be providing FREE skin cancer screenings to ALL patients who register–regardless of insurance. This will take place at Broward Health North’s Comprehensive Cancer Center between 5pm and 6:30pm. CALL TO REGISTER-954.759.7400. You can register online at browardhealth.org/events.

Only registered patients will be seen.

Make sure to get there 15 minutes early, as it is not so easy to find the cancer center.

201. E. Sample Road Deerfield Beach, FL 33064

“New” topical treatment for melanoma in situ: Not So Fast!

Melanoma in situ is a common tumor, and often affects the elderly. In some cases, surgery can be extremely extensive and/or patients are not good surgical candidates. For years, Dermatogists have been offering topical imiquimod (Aldara) to these patients as an alternative to surgery, with the full understanding that it is not as good as surgery, but better than nothing.

A recent study published in Dermatologic Surgery looked at long-term recurrence rates for patients who were treated with Aldara. They found that 17% of patients had a recurrence of their tumor, which is far higher than surgical recurrence rates.

In short, some publications talk about a “new” “alternative” to surgery. This is simply not the case. Surgery is the best option and topical treatment with imiquimod, as it has been, should only be considered for those who are not surgical candidates or those who are not expected to outlive their disease.

Hair loss treatments – for men and women

According to a recent article, all treatments that were evaluated were effective in treating hair loss.

For men, 2% minoxidil, 5% minoxidil, low light therapy, and finasteride were all effective.

For women, 2% minoxidil was effective. Unfortunately, other treatments were not evaluated for women.

Recommendations from Dr. Bader: In my experience finasteride is most effective in men with a high compliance rate. ┬áThe original 1mg dose was actually pulled out of thin air–no studies to find the most effective dose with the least amount of side effects was used to come up with this dose. I have found that 1mg may not be enough for some patients. 1.25mg (a quarter of a 5mg tablet) works well and some require a 2.5mg dose once or twice a week. I have found that this higher dosing has a greater effect on those who do not get the desired result with a minimal increase in side effects.

For women, I recommend that 5% minoxidil used once daily. This dosing schedule was recently FDA approved, not that this matters. One can buy the 5% minoxidil for men or women, whichever is cheaper. The product is the same. The only difference is the instructions that come with the product. Men are instructed to use the product twice daily. Studies have shown that 5% minoxidil twice a day is no more effective than 2% minoxidil twice a day. For this reason, once a day dosing is recommended for women, not that there is substantially greater risk of using the product twice a day. Side effects from this product include low blood pressure and increased facial hair growth in some. I recommend using the product at night, when one is less affected by lower blood pressure. One should get out of bed slowly to ensure they do not get lightheaded.

New scar treatment for thick scars

Tranilast 8% liposomal gel was shown to be effective in treating scars from cesarean sections. Patients were asked to treat half of their scars with this gel and the other half with placebo. Patients were much more satisfied with the Tranilast side.

Unfortunately, this treatment has not been compared to other treatments, including steroid injections and silicone gel sheets, but at least gives another option for patients with thick scars

FDA approves first treatment for metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma

The US Food and Drug Administration has granted accelerated approval to Bavencio (avelumab) for the treatment of ┬ámetastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)–one of the most deadly skin cancers. Prior to this, there have been no FDA-approved treatment for this deadly cancer.

Devices that help retain hair when undergoing chemotherpy for breast cancer

The DigniCap Cooling System was FDA approved in 2015 to prevent hair loss, which may be of benefit to those undergoing chemotherapy. The FDA has just approved a second system, the Paxman Scalp Cooling System, for reducing hair loss in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.