More than 3. 5 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year. It is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Now there could be a way to stop it before it even starts and as an added bonus, the treatment may also wipe away years from your face.
Cindy Alexander always sneaks in a sweat session. It's great for her body, but not her skin, especially since she skipped the sunblock for years.
Alexander told Ivanhoe, "It's really scary, skin cancer, you know. I mean it's scary."
Cindy's been fighting skin cancer for the past decade, and she also worries about the toll the excess sun has taken on her appearance.
"All the age spots, all the fine wrinkles, it's all going to be gone," Alexander told Ivanhoe.
Adam Scheiner, MD, of the Tampa Eye and Specialty Surgery Center, says he can zap the sun damage and lurking cancers for good. He calls the procedure "reset" for sun damage.
Scheiner told Ivanhoe, "I can remove all the damage that is there and start her skin over again in this younger, healthier, more attractive state."
Under general anesthetics, Scheiner uses a specialized laser to remove layers of the skin and precancerous lesions. The right side has already been treated. The left side has not.
"What's really unique about this is that I can take this laser and go below the skin's surface and I can see skin lesions below the skin's surface and remove them precisely layer by layer," Scheiner told Ivanhoe.
After 90 minutes, the doctor is done and Cindy's skin rewinds back to the days before cancer.
Scheiner told Ivanhoe, "I can treat not just the lesions I see but the ones that are just starting, the ones that will come out of the skin in a couple years."
It can take about a month for the new skin to start growing back.
The full face procedure can cost $13,000 and may not be covered by insurance. Scheiner says sun protection on a daily basis and Retin-A can help with sun damage too.
SKIN CANCER: A cancer that develops out of skin cells is considered a skin cancer. The two main types of skin cancers are basal and squamous cell cancer and melanomas. Basal and squamous cell cancers are usually found on parts of the body that are exposed to the sun. Basal and squamous cell cancers are the most common type, making up 95 percent of all skin cancers and are generally less serious. Melanomas can be found anywhere on the body, usually developing on the back for men and the legs for women. Both types of skin cancer are curable if caught in the early stages, but if not caught they can spread to other parts of the body and even become fatal. (Source: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/moreinformation)
CAUSES: The primary cause of skin cancer is the sun. The sun's ultraviolet rays can cause skin cells to mutant and multiply into the growth of a tumor. It's not only the sun's ultraviolet rays that can damage your skin, but also the ultraviolet rays from tanning beds. The UV lights from tanning beds have been shown to be just as harmful as the sun. Other causes of skin cancer can be attributed to X-ray exposure, disease and occasional exposure to harmful chemicals. (Source: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=43077#tocb)
NEW TECHNOLOGY: A new method for treating skin cancer is also making skin on the face look younger. Excessive exposure to the sun can not only cause skin cancer but also severely damage the skin and increase wrinkles and age spots. A new procedure called Reset for Sun Damage uses laser skin resurfacing to reverse facial sun damage and remove some pre-cancers and active skin cancers. The lasers remove the affected areas of skin layer by layer and new skin starts to grow back after about a month. Newly grown skin is healthy and gives the patient's face a younger, tighter look. Doctors note that it is very important to protect the new skin from any ultraviolet rays. (Source: http://www.adamscheinermd.com/facial-plastic-surgery-in-tampa/reset-skin-resurfacing)
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Adam Scheiner, M.D., Laser Eyelid and Facial Plastic Surgeon.
Can you tell us the name of this procedure and basically what it is?
Dr. Scheiner: Yes, the procedure is the RESET procedure and to start you know, as we live our lives we get exposed to the sun and a lot of us have sun damage that occurs unbeknownst to us that we were causing this over the years. Unfortunately we were sort of sold a bad bill of goods when we heard that tans were healthy; there's really no such thing as a healthy tan. It's been estimated actually in our country that half of us will develop skin cancers as we age. A lot of us will develop these things called actinic keratosis or these flaky lesions on our skin as we age and 10 percent of these will actually go on to develop squamous cell carcinoma. I've been doing this procedure for about 16 years and what I notice is when I did it in a very specific way I was able to actually remove certain cancers and certain pre-cancers with this. The RESET procedure is actually a specialized form of advanced laser skin resurfacing and a proprietary healing protocol that allows me to take facial sun damage and actually remove that damage. I can reset a person's skin back to a younger, healthier, more attractive state.
So like how many years, for the woman that we're going to do?
Dr. Scheiner: That's up to the person in terms of how much younger they will look. The women we're going to see has had lesions on her face that she's been dealing with for years. In fact, her dermatologist actually sent her to me because she heard about this procedure and as opposed to having to treat these spot lesions; this is sort of a reset on the entire face. I can remove all the damage that's there and start her skin over again in this more attractive state.
And what tool do you use?
Dr. Scheiner: I have a full ablative Erbium-based laser by a company called Sciton. It's a type of dual pulsed Erbium laser. What's nice is it's a very clean laser and I can get down below the skin. I can take this laser and go below the skin surface. I can see skin lesions below the skin surface and remove them precisely layer by layer until the lesion is removed. What's nice is when I do someone's whole face is that I can treat not just the lesions I see but the ones that are just starting, the ones that will come out in the skin in a couple of years, I can treat those as well.
So as far as for the patient, does it take a while?
Dr. Scheiner: When we do this procedure their skin has about a two week recovery associated with it and we have a whole protocol worked out that allows them to heal as fast as possible. But once their skin regrows itself, this is brand new skin, this is skin that has never been on their face before and it is sort of like baby skin.
Now you hear about people getting the vampire facial because that's like regrowing new skin.
Dr. Scheiner: I mean that, yes that's underneath the skin. This is really more fundamentally a way to really start the skin over because we have these little DNA changes in the deep skin. That happens from sun exposure as we go through life and get exposed to the sun. Some of these DNA changes will turn in to skin cancers. Now what's nice is I get below that, I wipe that away and the skin regrows itself from the bottom up. It's brand new skin that's there without all that sun damage. And that's what's amazing about this procedure.
Is Reset the name specifically for the skin?
Dr. Scheiner: Correct, I'm calling this the Reset Procedure for Sun Damage. It really can do that, it can reset a person's skin back to this younger, healthier and more attractive state.
But you've been doing it for 16 years?
Dr. Scheiner: Correct, the way that I really discovered this is I had a patient who I did surgery on a few years ago. I worked on her upper and lower eyelid and I did this laser procedure on her lower lid skin. She came back to me two years later and she was erupting in skin lesions all over her face except for those two areas where I treated two years before. That taught me something, I realized wow, not only do I do this procedure to help people with loose skin and with wrinkles, not only was I doing that and making the skin look better, I was fundamentally making the skin healthier. That taught me that this is really something I can help a lot of people with in terms of reversing sun damage.
So in three years you're not going to see the brown spots popping up, sneaking back up again?
Dr. Scheiner: Right, if we were looking at her in three years she'd have multiple little lesions coming out of her face, more cancers coming out and we're going to start this skin over again.
There's so many claims out there about people who can fix your skin.
Dr. Scheiner: Right, there are these things with Fraxel which allow you to create little pits in the skin that can regrow collagen but it has nothing really to do with the outer layer of skin where these skin cancers form. This is a really serious procedure where we remove all the top area of skin, but by doing that we allow the body to then regrow itself without all that old damage.
So it's a lot different than those other skin procedures?
Dr. Scheiner: Oh it's much more comprehensive than something like Fraxel.
Because that's just an in office procedure, you don't go to surgery.
Dr. Scheiner: Depending on how it's done it can be in an office or it can be in a surgery center. This one is better done if I'm treating a whole face you know, in a surgical center.
So this is going to last hopefully a lifetime.
Dr. Scheiner: Oh absolutely, once I fix her skin as long as she keeps it protected with sun protection and I told her once she's done she can be out and about again but she now has to learn the lessons about sun exposure. She has to keep her skin protected, she has to reapply sun screen. But this really gives her a new start on life in terms of her facial skin.
Who would be a good candidate for this?
Dr. Scheiner: Really anyone who has had to deal with sunburns in the past, who are dealing with flaky skin lesions on their face, who are concerned about skin cancers coming out of their face as they get older. This is a perfect procedure for them because it really gives people a chance to start over again.
What about just a couple of brown spots here and there?
Dr. Scheiner: We have ways to treat brown spots with this technology and with other technologies but yes this one actually wipes away all of the pigment spots as well.
What's the cost for a whole face?
Dr. Scheiner: This varies, usually if we're doing one part of the face it starts around $5,000 and depending on the amount of damage it can go up from there.
The procedure takes about?
Dr. Scheiner: About an hour, and hour and a half or so.
What do you think about the claims of these creams that can do miracle work and these different lasers and these beauty salons that are now doing different things, and dentists who are now doing facial procedures?
Dr. Scheiner: I guess it's along a spectrum. I mean the best thing anyone can do is to wear sun protection on a daily basis. That's protection at its base and that can lead to much healthier skin and better looking skin as we get older, so that's the first thing. Beyond that there are medical products, things like Retin-A and hydroquinone's that really can turn skin around. A lot of other things are really softer in terms of the results; they're more temporary things that are not really as fundamental. This procedure, this RESET procedure which is as I was saying, is a really powerful procedure because we get below the skin layer, we can remove these sun lesions totally. As the skin grows itself back we have this younger, healthier, more attractive looking skin afterwards.
How long have you been doing it on the skin? Is it relatively new?
Dr. Scheiner: Again, I've been doing this for 16 years. The light bulb started to go off in my head maybe about four years ago when I started to really notice in one case where the lower lids looked better than the rest of the face two years later. That started to teach me and I have people sending me patients now just to deal with their sun damage because they are tired of having things frozen off their face. This is a reset on that entire sun damage that's been done in the past.
So you've been doing it to the whole face?
Dr. Scheiner: Yes, for 16 years, but this application for skin cancer is probably the last four years or so.
If somebody is concerned about this, what criteria should they look for?
Dr. Scheiner: I mean there are ways. This is really a much more comprehensive way of removing damage to the skin. I mean there are things that people can do to help, there are creams that people use from dermatologists and they can be helpful. But this is so much more fundamental because we can get the lesions that haven't an even shown themselves yet. This is the only procedure that I know that can do that.
So this is the best way?
Dr. Scheiner: I think this is a very powerful way for helping people rejuvenate their skin and make it healthier and younger and more attractive.
Does it look like a facelift? Do you look different?
Dr. Scheiner: I think that they end up looking like a better version of themselves.
Dr. Scheiner: So when we are outside the sun comes down on our face and a couple of things happen. There's visible light that allows us to see our skin and there's these invisible rays called ultraviolet rays that affect us too. There's two main ones that we have to be aware of, one is UVA and the other one is UVB. UVA is one for skin aging. It's actually a very long wavelength that will actually penetrate deeply in the skin and it can penetrate car windows and clouds. That is one that actually gets in the deeper skin and fractures elastic fibers and collagen fibers and causes the skin to fall as we get older. UVB rays are ones that cause skin burn and they're the ones that make our skin red when we're in the sun. They're that's most prevalent from 10 AM to about 4 PM. Both of them can cause damage in the cellular level in something called thymine dimers. They create changes in the DNA that bind particles of the DNA which can lead to skin cancers. The most important thing for all of us is we're going to be outside and we have to protect ourselves and wear sunblock on a regular basis. That's really a powerful way to keep our skin looking young.
And what sunblock do you use?
Dr. Scheiner: So I like mechanical blocks, I like ones that with micronized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide because they work as soon as they're on the skin. I like that a lot and at my home we do have my kids wear sunblock every single day before they go out the door.
I know there's like hundreds when you go out and look.
Dr. Scheiner: Yes, and I mean there are a lot of sunblocks. They are active blocks that have to be absorbed before they work and there's a chemical reaction that happens in the skin. I like mechanical ones better because they work immediately when they're on the skin.
How do you know which ones are mechanical?
Dr. Scheiner: The ones that have usually the zinc oxide or the titanium dioxide in it.