I'm impressed by how much we struggle with seemingly simple health decisions when faced with sorting through too much information. Buying sunscreen: It's a simple task, right? Most of us do it every year about this time. And among actions we can take to reduce our risk of cancer in general and skin cancer specifically, this choice is fairly important. So my colleague was surprised to hear this snippet of conversation as she contemplated ...

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The Ellen DeGeneres Show has repeatedly put out a call for viewers to send in their funny sunburn pictures and stories. The following was posted on the website:

Summer is here and everyone is hitting the beach or pool. Just don't forget the sunscreen! If you did, and you have the bad sunburn to prove it, we want to see the funny photos. Be sure to tell us the story behind ...

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Fifteen years ago I got an unexpected invitation to write a column for a dermatology newspaper aimed at practicing clinicians. Because dermatology is a concrete field that lends itself to punning, I called the column “Under My Skin.” Writing it monthly since then has given me a chance to take a humorous and sometimes cathartic look at the joys and woes of practice. It’s fun to do, and gratifying to hear ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 64-year-old man is evaluated in the emergency department for a rash that first developed 3 days ago and has rapidly spread to cover most of his body. His skin is painful. He has a history of mild psoriasis and asthma. His psoriasis has been well controlled with topical corticosteroids as needed. ...

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A recent article in the New York Times highlighted the high costs associated with some types of subspecialty medical care, in particular dermatological procedures like Mohs surgery. Indeed, the patient profiled in the piece went for a minor procedure which, including facilities fees and questionable referrals to an anesthesiologist and plastic surgeon, generated billing that topped an unconscionable $25,000. This piece led to the predictable
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Kayla wrote in:

Hello!  I am curious what you think about essential oils.  They have recently become incredibly popular in my community, but I am pretty skeptical because so much of the enthusiasm is coming from those who have signed up as ‘distributors’ with doTerra or Young Living (2 essential oil multi-level marketing companies.). The biggest concern I have is that these companies (and all these new distributors) recommend taking many ...

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An article published in the New York Times last weekend has been circulating widely on the Internet, and I feel that more than ever, physician voices are needed to reach the public and counter certain misconceptions put forth by the media. The article, "Patients’ Costs Skyrocket; Specialists’ Incomes Soar," charts the growth of specialist incomes in the past decade, using the case of a patient from Arkansas who had a $25,000 medical ...

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Skin cancers are never truly benignI spent 4 hours on New Year's Eve sitting in the surgeon's chair getting a skin cancer taken off my nose. Nothing about the experience fits the "benign" label so many professionals, including yours truly, have used:  routine; easy to treat; nothing to worry about.  Friends, after this experience, which left me looking like a tall, white-haired Rudolph the ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 72-year-old man is evaluated for a 3- to 4-month history of diffuse, intractable itching involving most of the body. He uses emollients regularly. He cannot identify any precipitating causes. He was relatively healthy before the onset of the itch but now feels chronically fatigued. The itch is relentless. He has used ...

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Nothing puts more fear into the heart of an internist than a dermatologic chief complaint. And for good reason: we have very little exposure to the breadth of the field. To us, all rashes seem to be maculopapular, all bumps are pustules … or was that nodules? It’s not that we internists don’t care about the skin or don’t appreciate its complexity. Rather, we simply haven’t seen enough bumps, rashes, and ...

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