Basin Electric doctor treats employee moles to help prevent or diagnose skin cancer


Dr. Tom Kaspari, on-site physician for Basin Electric and its subsidiaries, can check and remove moles at no cost to Basin Electric employees.

Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, and with that comes boating, camping, gardening, and all those other outdoor activities that allow us to soak up the Vitamin D we’ve been missing over the long winter and short spring.

But even though the sun is good for the soul, it is not always good for the skin, and it’s important to be safe and protect your skin this summer … because skin cancer is a reality.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer every year.

Dr. Tom Kaspari, on-site physician for Basin Electric and its subsidiaries, says there are groups of people who have an increased skin cancer risk, including those with fair skin and light hair, those who have not protected their skin from the sun and have damaged it to the point of a blistering sunburn, those who frequent tanning beds, and people with a family history of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

There are three main types of skin cancer: squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, both of which are sun-related skin cancers, and melanoma, which is also sun-related, but also can be hereditary. “If you catch melanoma early, it is very treatable,” he says, “but as it progresses, it moves deeper into the body and into the lymphatic system. At that point, it is very difficult to treat and most patients who reach that point don’t survive.”

The good news? It can be prevented by being diligent about using sunscreen – and that means not just applying it once before going out in the sun for the day. Dr. Kaspari says you need to re-apply it often – up to every half hour if you have fair skin, are sweating, or are in water. And, just as with other types of cancer, early detection is crucial.

So how do you catch it early? Keep an eye on your moles. Dr. Kaspari says you’ll know what to look for by simply following the ABCs. If any or all these apply to a mole, it is important to have it checked by a health care professional.

A – Asymmetry: Imagine folding the mole in half – if both sides don’t match up, have it checked.
B – Border: Is the border irregular?
C – Color: Is there more than one color?
D – Diameter: Is it larger than a pencil eraser?
E – Evolution: Has it changed? Grown in size or color?

Dr. Kaspari says that he checks “tons” of moles during his visits at Basin Electric, and can remove them, too, if necessary. He also sends suspicious moles to a pathologist to determine whether or not they are cancerous. This is a huge benefit to employees because the visit and procedure are completely free to them, although they will still receive a bill from the pathologist’s office. The entire process from removal to results usually takes about one week.

Listen to Dr. Kaspari in the videos below talk about the ABCs of moles and why early intervention is the key to treating skin cancer.

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