As busy nurse practitioners, we see numerous conditions throughout the day. Sometimes a patient will off-handedly mention a “sore” on their skin that “doesn’t seem to heal.” Sores can be many things; a cut, a scrape, an insect bite, a superficial burn, an acne lesion, . . . you name it. It may or may not bleed. The patient might not even remember how it started.
However, whenever a patient mentions that something isn’t healing, it should immediately alert you that further action is necessary. Non-healing skin lesions are the hallmark of skin cancers such as Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Malignant Melanoma.
We know that most “sores” heal within four weeks. If a patient recalls that something has lingered for more than that amount of time, it should be a cause for concern, especially if it is located in a sun exposed area.
The nurse practitioner should evaluate the lesion more closely and possibly perform a biopsy to rule out skin cancer. The earlier a skin cancer is detected, the sooner it can be removed with the least amount of tissue, the least amount of scarring, and the best possible prognosis.
Reminder, The Dermatology and Cosmetic Skin Care Course will be going on sale starting 7/25!