Banner Fort Collins Medical Center

WIN 2017

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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Fort Collins Medical Center Radiation therapy can be used as an alternative to surgery to effectively and non-invasively treat skin cancer? While surgery (wide local excision or Mohs) is an appropriate treatment for many patients, radiation is often used in situations where surgery would be difficult, such as the head and neck region. One major drawback to radiation therapy is that it can take up to 4-6 ½ weeks of daily treatments to be effective. However, our team is using an exciting and innovative technique called HDR brachytherapy to treat non-melanomatous skin cancers on nearly any part of the body in as few as 8 treatments with minimal side effects. This technology allows us to offer much more convenient and shorter treatment times to our patients without compromising effectiveness. Further, brachytherapy minimizes the radiation dose to the normal tissues surrounding the treatment area, which is always an important goal when designing radiation treatment plans. Take Care of Your Birthday Suit… It's the Only One You Have. Y ou are born with only one birthday suit – your skin. So it's important to take care of the one you have! Did you know that skin is the largest body organ, weighing in at approximately eight pounds and covers about 22 square feet? Your skin serves many functions, including maintaining body temperature and protecting you from the outside world. Your skin allows you to feel touch, pain, and pressure through its mass network of millions of nerves. Living in Colorado, we enjoy many days of blue skies and bright sunshine. We enjoy year round outdoor activities, such as walking, jogging, gardening, hiking, and skiing. But we may forget, especially at our higher altitudes, that it presents greater risks for our skin. A certain amount of sunshine is healthy as it ties directly to maintaining Vitamin D levels, improves your mental state, and provides physical benefits by boosting your immune system. But common sense with sun exposure is important. Nearly 90% of the skin changes that people think are related to aging are actually related from sun exposure. Skin damage, called photo-aging, contributes to wrinkles, loose or sagging skin, and a loss of elasticity and firmness. It may also give your skin a leathery texture, cause skin spots, and lead to unevenness in color of your skin. In addition, excessive sun exposure can also increase your risk for skin cancer. Check your body for all moles and pigmented spots on your body. Know the A –B – C – D – E's of skin cancer A – Asymmetry. If you draw a line through the mole, do the two halves match evenly? B – Border. Do the edges of the mole appear to be irregular, "ratty" or jagged? C – Color. Is the color or pigmentation of the mole uniform? Does it have varying shades or colors of brown, black, tan, or even white or red? D – Diameter. Is the size of the mole greater than 1 / 4 inch – or size of a pencil eraser? E – Evolving. Does the mole change shape, color, or size over time? You know your skin better than anyone else. Check your skin routinely – but especially on your birthday. Examine your skin thoroughly from the top of your head to the tip of your toes – and everywhere in between. Know what is normal for you – and what is new for you. Did you know… Common sense steps to reduce your risks of skin cancer: • Avoid too much sun exposure. Use sunscreen of at least SPF 15 or greater. • Wear appropriate clothing and a hat to protect yourself from sunburn. • Wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes. • Check yourself routinely for any changes or new moles. • When in doubt…check it out. If something looks suspicious consult your physician or dermatologist. Skin cancer can be very treatable – especially if found early. Banner Health Oncology Services Jeffrey Albert, MD, MPH Medical Director Oncology Services Elizabeth Ceilley, MD Medical Director Radiation Oncology Michael Van Tuyl, MD, DABR Radiation Oncologist SHUT TERSTOCK / DR. ALBERT, DR. CEILLEY, AND DR. VAN TUYL PHOTOS BY ERIK STENBAKKEN/STENBAKKEN.COM

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