The business of skin cancer gives rise to questionable treatments according to the NY Times.

The business of skin cancer gives rise to questionable treatments courtesy of private equity according to the NY Times.

There is growing evidence that the business of skin cancer may be giving us the business, in harmful ways you couldn’t possibly imagine.

Many baby boomers did some crazy things when they were younger to attract a tan, without any idea that they would suffer the consequences. Using reflectors and baby oil was thought of as the best and most effective way to get a dark tan, which attracted and intensified the suns rays, damaging our skin. The resulting skin cancers many years later, some life-threatening and some benign have become a growing health concern for many older Americans.

While it is important to use sun screen, and many in the baby boomer generation are now using it, the sins of the past have increased our risk of developing skin growths and cancers, which has been great for the business of dermatology.

Recently, the NY Times reported on a disturbing trend of cancer overtreatment for profit has become more commonplace.  Offices are filled with patients who have had growths surgically removed, with some requiring follow-up cosmetic surgery from the procedure.

Many older patients who have benign, non-harmful growths may not require treatment.  Some with benign growths are being sent for aggressive chemo or radiology based treatments that are not necessary and can be quite harmful as well as expensive.

A new trend is emerging with private equity firms investing in dermatology clinics and chains, incentivizing younger doctors to treat more aggressively for profit.

As a consumer, who can you trust and when do you need treatment?

Fear is a great motivator, and patients can be easily manipulated if they believe their health is in jeopardy.  Even in dermatology, getting a second opinion on the diagnosis of skin cancer and how to treat it is important before you allow anyone to cut into you or treat you with an aggressive treatment method.

Read more about this disturbing trend

Skin Cancers Rise, Along With Questionable Treatments
By KATIE HAFNER and GRIFFIN PALMERNOV. 20, 2017

John Dalman had been in the waiting room at a Loxahatchee, Fla., dermatology clinic for less than 15 minutes when he turned to his wife and told her they needed to leave. Now.

“It was like a fight or flight impulse,” he said.

His face numbed for skin-cancer surgery, Mr. Dalman, 69, sat surrounded by a half-dozen other patients with bandages on their faces, scalps, necks, arms, and legs. At a previous visit, a young physician assistant had taken 10 skin biopsies, which showed slow-growing, nonlethal cancerous lesions. Expecting to have the lesions simply scraped off at the next visit, he had instead been told he needed surgery on many of them, as well as a full course of radiation lasting many weeks.

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