Family Doctors are well qualified to diagnose children, teens and adults and then, in most cases, treat them or direct them to the appropriate, definitive care. Often, when dealing with skin related issues, people think they need to go directly to a Dermatologist. However, your Primary Care Provider (PCP) such as your Family Doctor can diagnose and treat many of these concerns. You can be assured your PCP has received training to diagnose and treat acne, eczema, pre-cancerous lesions, cancerous lesions, rashes, moles and warts.
Our skin is our interface with the world and the barrier to infection. A very important organ.
Patients, especially teens, do not like the pain and frustration that comes with acne breakouts, particularly on the face. PCPs are trained to treat acne with conventional creams, including benzyl peroxide, Retin-A, antibiotics and keratolytics. But their training doesn’t stop there. If the acne doesn’t respond to conventional treatments, a PCP can also prescribe Accutane for the hard to treat and scarring type of Acne. There is no need to leave the comfortable confines of your PCP’s office to receive this type of treatment.
The dry climate of our desert atmosphere makes eczema more severe. If over the counter creams do not solve the problem, PCPs have the knowledge to prescribe steroid creams that will keep this irritating rash in check. There is no need to see a dermatologist for this very common problem.
Sun damaged skin is also a concern that can lead to actinic keratosis, a pre-cancerous lesion that needs to be treated with liquid nitrogen or other skin creams. A PCP has also received training in shaving off moles, doing a punch biopsy or excising lesions that need to be looked at by a pathologist to see if they are cancerous.
Now if a cancer is diagnosed from a biopsy, your PCP can either excise the cancer, thereby curing the disease, or refer to the proper surgeon to complete the treatment. But, the diagnosis of cancer can always be made at your local office.
Many viruses or allergens will cause rashes. Your PCP treats infection. And will usually be able to identify the rash and provide treatment. However, if the disease is an exotic disease of has unusual presentations, your doctor will know where to refer you for a consultation to establish the diagnosis.
The wart virus produces visible, irritating lesions that most people do not want to deal with for a long period. PCPs have the equipment and materials to treat warts in the office, including liquid nitrogen, duct tape advice and DNCB treatment for hard to cure warts. There is no need to travel to have your warts treated.
The skin is a vital organ. It needs to treated with respect so it can continue to protect us from the environment and diseases. Let your PCP help you keep your skin healthy.
Tracy Frandsen, MD
Canyon View Family Medicine