A dermatologist in Port St. Lucie, Florida has been wrongly diagnosing patients with skin cancer for personal financial gain. Dr. Gary Marder has been instructing his patients to undergo radiation treatments under the premise of a usual check up in order to fraudulently gather millions from insurance. Each radiation treatment set the patient back around $1,600 to $3,500. The doctor told his patients that a freckle, wart or mole was cancerous. One patient opted for surgery instead of treatment only to find the wound badly infected days later. A case against Marder has been brought to court where he was ordered to pay a settlement of $5.2 million.
It is important to perform frequent self-examinations for skin cancer at home in addition to scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist. Living in a sunny state such as Arizona, California, or Florida can increase the chances of malignant moles. Reputable dermatologists recommend the ABCDE method to detect melanoma:
Asymmetry- The mole should be of proportional shape. Imagine a line drawn across the diameter of the mole. There should be no irregularities or asymmetries on either side of the spot.
Border- A benign mole has smooth and even edges or borders. Malignant moles have rough, uneven edges and tend to be oddly shaped.
Color- Non-cancerous moles tend to be all one color—a shade of brown. Cancerous moles vary in color. Different shades of tan, black, red, white, or blue will appear in a cancerous mole.
Diameter- A benign mole is usually even and small. Melanoma can be large if it not detected early on in the process. A good rule of thumb: If the spot is larger than a number two pencil eraser, then it is a good idea to have a professional take a look.
Evolving- Benign moles do not grow in size nor color over time. Book an appointment to see a doctor if a mole grows in height, width, or color over time.
Sunscreen (SPF30 to be exact) is the best prevention for skin damage and will decrease the chances of malignant moles. Reapply sunscreen every two to three hours and more often when swimming or exercising.
Co-written by Brian Dault and Elise Childers for DaultLaw