Conditions in Ages 55 and Better
Today in the 21st century, reaching age 55 usually means decades of good, healthy living ahead of you. Diet, exercise and annual check-ups can help take care of you on the inside, and your dermatologic surgeon can help take care of you on the outside. In fact, dermatologic surgeons are seeing growing numbers of dynamic, vigorous patients well into their 70s and 80s who want to maintain a healthy, attractive appearance.
This period is often referred to as "the age of combination therapies" because all the tools and techniques – alone or in tandem – of the dermatologic surgeon are at your disposal: laser surgery, liposuction, chemical peels, wrinkle fillers, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), hair transplantation and more. The art and science of cosmetic skin surgery can help you look every bit as young as you feel.
While skin cancer can appear at almost any stage of life, the incidence of skin cancer is much greater once you reach the 50s. One out of every seven people in the United States will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. And, just one serious sunburn can increase your risk by as much as 50 percent.
That's why sun protection is crucial – not only to prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging but more importantly to prevent skin cancer. Fortunately, most skin cancer is curable, especially if recognized and treated early.
There are three types of skin cancer to be on the lookout for: basal cell, squamous cell and the more dangerous malignant melanoma. Chief skin cancer treatments include:
- Curettage: A sharp instrument is used to scrape away the malignant tissue, often followed by the use of an electric needle to destroy any remaining cancerous tissue.
- Surgical excision: The skin is cut away to remove the growth, then closed up with stitches.
- Cryosurgery: Liquid nitrogen is applied directly to the skin to freeze and destroy the cancerous tissue.
- Topical chemotherapy: Chemicals which can destroy precancerous growths are applied to the skin surface.
- Laser surgery: laser light energy can cut away and/or vaporize the cancerous tissue.
- Mohs micrographic surgery: Developed by dermatologic surgeons, this procedure is typically used to remove more complicated skin cancers (for example, on the eyelid or side of the nose) or large, invasive, recurrent tumors. This method allows a dermatologic surgeon to precisely remove the cancer cells, layer by layer, with the aid of a microscope, providing superior accuracy and effectiveness.