Meet the Expert: Dr Jennifer Crawley, Consultant Dermatologist for children and adults
In this first blog post in a dermatology series on skin conditions and skin treatments, I interview Dr Jennifer Crawley, a Consultant Dermatologist at Clinica London, to discuss what she does concerning skin cancers and mole checks.
Miss Olver: Good morning Jennifer, we are doing the blog post series for the Clinica London website, called Meet the Expert.
Dr Jennifer Crawley: Yes.
Jane Olver: I know patients want to know more about what each of the consultants here at Clinica London does.
Jennifer Crawley: Of course.
Jane: You are a Consultant Dermatologist I understand.
Jennifer: That’s correct.
Jane: Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do in adult dermatology and also children’s skin and dermatology, please.
Jennifer: Of course. So, Jane, I do both adult dermatology and children (or paediatric) dermatology.
Within the field of adult dermatology, very broadly there are two types of things that I see. I see red skin rashes and people who are concerned about individual lesions on their skin. Anyone who presents with a red skin rash, the most common types of diagnoses that I treat would be patients perhaps with eczema or psoriasis, drug rashes, acne or rosacea.
And then thinking about individual lesions on the skin, naturally our main worry or concern is skin cancer of which there are different types. These types include malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It is crucial that if patients see any new lesions, lumps or bumps on their skin, especially if there are any symptoms associated with them like pain, bleeding, itching, that they get those lesions examined as soon as possible.
Jane: And is this anywhere on the body or just on the face?
Jennifer: Anywhere on the body, Jane. So remember you can get any of these types of skin cancers anywhere on the body.
Jane: Does it have to be in areas that have been in the sun or can it be in areas that haven’t been in the sun?
Jennifer: Yes, excellent question Jane. So, the majority of these skin cancers are seen in areas that are sun-exposed, but you can also get skin cancer in non-sun exposed sites. One thing that I offer here at Clinical London is an examination if you have lots of moles on your skin, so we know that moles on the skin potentially have the risk of turning into something malignant.
Jane: Is that called the mole check?
Jennifer: That is called the mole check, Jane. It is crucial for me, as well as taking a history, to carefully examine patients and, also, to examine the lesion with an exceptional instrument called a dermatoscope.
Jane: Is that easy to do, dermatoscopy?
Jennifer: It is straightforward to do, Jane, and it is not painful at all. It is a special non-polarised light source for which I examine each lesion individually. I can see special changes under this light that suggest if a lesion or a mole is sinister or potentially malignant.
Jane: Presumably, it is magnified so that you can see the lesion a bit better.
Jennifer: Yes it is indeed, so it makes the lesion much more prominent for me to see. Skin cancers and worrisome moles have a specific pattern or appearance under this light.
Jane: If someone has such a lesion and you are suspicious of a mole, that it could be something more sinister like cancer or melanoma, what would you do next for them?
Jennifer: So, it is imperative Jane that if we are worried about any lesion that we either take a skin biopsy if I am concerned that it is a non-melanoma skin cancer. If I suspect melanoma, then it would be essential that I excise or remove the entire lesion as soon as possible with adequate margins.
In our next posts in this series, we’ll discuss more specific areas of dermatology with Dr Jennifer Crawley.