We are all familiar with the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Nowhere can this prove to be more true than in dermatology, specifically concerning skin cancers. Carefully analyzing skin lesions daily for the past twelve years, I have come to the realization that early detection is absolutely key to achieving the most positive outcomes possible. Too often, we see advanced cases of skin cancers that require complicated treatments. In most cases, had the skin cancer been caught at an earlier stage, the required treatment would be significantly less invasive with an overall superior outcome. For example, a precancerous lesion may be treated with non-invasive measures including liquid nitrogen or in some cases topical therapy, however forgoing treatment and allowing an advanced skin cancer to develop may result in extensive surgical procedures. Undergoing regular skin examinations with a well-trained and trusted provider is key. It seems most individuals are dedicated, even enthusiastic about committing to regular skin examinations, however the daily responsibilities and demands on our time can derail even the most well-intentioned patients. As a very blessed new mother of a happy and healthy bouncing baby boy, I find I have more and more demands on my time. Even now, as I quietly write this blog while my sweet boy sleeps to encourage patients to take the road to better health, I am mentally cataloging my ‘To Do’ list, taking care that each item becomes completed. I make absolutely certain my baby and husband make it to all of their preventive health check-ups and that they adhere to all recommendations made by their healthcare providers. Yet, I often find myself at the bottom of the priority list when scheduling my own appointments.
Thankfully, I am reminded every single day by my returning patients just how important regular health maintenance is, and I am now making preventative health a priority in my life as well. A long-time beloved patient of mine once told me he sacrificed his health in his youth chasing the almighty dollar, and later in life he was spending his fortune trying to recapture his health. He is not alone, as all too often we fail to prioritize our own health. I will never forget his words, and feel fortunate he chose to share his life experience with me. Here, at the Treasure Valley Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center, Dr. Portela fully supports his staff in our efforts to remain in optimal health and it is in this positive atmosphere that I am finally free to strive for excellent health. Our staff is constantly encouraging one another to keep our commitments to healthier living and with Dr. Portela’s enthusiastic support we are afforded every opportunity to achieve our healthcare goals. I would strongly encourage all patients to commit to regular skin examinations, as it may well save your life. So, whether you find your own ‘To Do’ list is filled with a demanding career, a busy family, outdoor adventures and travel, furthering your education, or you happen to be one of those parents who are making certain everyone else in your household is participating in pro-active healthcare, I nudge you to take the time to make your own health a priority this year as well. After all, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.