What is a DO?
Most people have regularly visited a family physician since they were very young. Doctors are not all MDs. Some doctors are known as DOs, DO standing for Doctor of Osteopathy. In fact, these two classifications are each a type of complete physician licensed to practice in their chosen state. A DO, like and MD, is fully qualified to practice medicine, perform surgery, and prescribe medications.
There are several similarities between MDs and DOs:
- Both DO and MD students begin their education with a four year bachelor’s degree program that emphasizes science.
- Both the DO and MD basic medical education is four years.
- Post-graduate education and training includes internship, residency, and fellowship. This type of post-graduate activity continues for three to eight years, preparing the MD or DO for general or specialty practice.
- Both the DO and the MD can specialize in a chosen area, such as ophthalmology, surgery, family medicine, dermatology, or pediatrics.
- State licensing is required and achieved through an examination process.
- Licensed and accredited health care facilities will employ DOs as well as MDs.
- The inclusion of each enhances the healthcare available to Americans.
A different approach
The difference between a DO and an MD is the branch of medical care to which they belong. Osteopathic medicine has served the American people for more than a century, adding a wonderful dimension to general and specialized services.
- Often, DOs can be found in rural areas and communities otherwise underserved by excellent medical care.
- Upwards of 60 percent of osteopathic physicians choose to practice as primary care providers in areas such as pediatrics, general internal medicine, family medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology.
Osteopathic physicians use the same or similar advanced technologies and proven therapies to handle the healthcare needs of their patients. Your DO will listen to your concerns and needs, will see the big picture as each condition relates to your general health and wellbeing, and will provide an excellent standard of care.
How can Skin Cancer be detected?
There is one major way to quickly identify suspicious lesions, and that is to become as familiar as possible with your skin. Dermatologists help their patients do this by noting specific characteristics to look for during self examinations. We call them the ABCDE’s:
- Asymmetry is one sign of an abnormal mole or growth. A mole, freckle, or other spot should be balanced on each side if you were to draw a line through the center. If a spot looks different from one side to the other, your physician should perform an examination.
- The border of a mole or spot should be defined. Jagged or blurred edges indicate the presence of abnormal cells.
- The color of a mole should be consistent. A mole may be black, brown, tan, or another hue, but should be only one. Multiple colors within a single growth should be evaluated by your dermatologist, as should changes in color such as lightening or darkening.
- The diameter, or area around a mole should not be any larger than a quarter inch. This is about the size of a pencil eraser. Larger moles, or those with other abnormalities, should be further evaluated.
- The elevation or enlargement of a mole could indicate abnormal cells. Changes in size should be evaluated by your dermatologist.
Knowing what to look for gives you the best possible chance of catching skin cancer early. The presence of an abnormality within a mole is a sign that further examination is needed. This does not necessarily mean that a mole is cancerous. Upon further testing, Dr. Doppelt can reach a conclusive diagnosis.