Basal cell and squamous cell cancers occur most often (about 90%) in areas of the body that are regularly exposed to the sun, such as the head, ears, neck, arms, and hands, but they can appear anywhere on the body. Other warning signs include a sore that doesn’t heal, any change on the skin, such as the size or color of a mole, a change in the surface of a mole such as scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or other change in appearance, the spread of color beyond the border of a mole, a change in sensation, itchiness, tenderness, or pain, or simply a new growth on the skin that you haven’t noticed before. Virtually every malignant skin cancer becomes visible on the skin’s surface, making it the only type of cancer that is almost always detectable in the early—and most curable—stages. The most serious of the three skins cancers is melanoma. It’s in a different league than the other two because it is very aggressive and has the potential to spread quickly to key areas of the body, such as lymph nodes, bones, and major organs, including the brain. As with all cancers, early detection and treatment is the key to beating it. If melanoma is detected before it spreads to nearby lymph nodes or other organs, the 5-year survival rate is about 98%. The rate falls to 62% if the disease reaches the lymph nodes and plummets to 15% if the melanoma metastasizes to distant organs. Currently, almost 77,000 new melanoma cases are diagnosed annually in the U.S., and of these, about 9,500 (12%) will be fatal. Signs to watch for on the skin include a large brownish spot with darker speckles, a mole that bleeds or changes color or size, a small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, white, blue or blue-black, and dark lesions on the palms, soles, fingertips or toes, or on mucous membranes lining the mouth, nose, vagina, or anus. Melanoma is scary, but the good
Skin cancer is by far the most common cancer in the world, accounting for about 75% of all cancer diagnoses. It’s the most prevalent form of cancer in the U.S.
Dr. Robert L. Chappell and Staff (photo courtesy of Studio 1401) news is that the overall survival rate has increased from 49% to 92% in the last 60 years. Odessa is fortunate to have dermatologists who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases of the skin and skin cancer. Dr. Robert L. Chappell, Jr., has been practicing dermatology in the Permian Basin since 1978. He was born in Fort Worth but was raised in Odessa. After graduating from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, he attended Baylor College of Medicine, earning his M.D. degree with honors in 1974. He stayed at Baylor for his internship and dermatology residency and was named Chief Resident of Dermatology his final year. After earning Board Certification in Dermatology, Dr. Chappell established his practice in 1978. He began his photo therapy center in 1983 and was instrumental in forming the Laser & Aesthetic Center in 1999, the first such facility in the Permian Basin. Dr. Chappell and his wife, Barbara, have four children, two girls and two boys. They enjoy their three grandchildren, and that joy will increase soon with the arrival of two more grandkids, expected to arrive a month apart. Dr. Chappell was an avid fitness bicycle rider until recently; he says that it’s not as safe to ride now with all the recent traffic increase in Odessa. The Chappells also love to travel. Dr. Chappell specializes in medical dermatology— diseases of the skin, such as psoriasis, acne, an apple a day may 2014 15
The May 2014 issue of An Apple a Day magazine.