2019 Top Doctors
New Hampshire Magazine

Women's Health

Welcome to our new Women’s Wellness Section

“As women, our team is committed to women’s health. Each day, we educate women about healthy aging, symptoms unique to their bodies and options for effective treatment.  We also urge women with a family or personal history of melanoma or atypical moles to schedule a special GYN skin cancer screening — since early detection can literally save a life.-- Jamie Lowery, NP-C

“Unique to Women” 

There are many women’s health issues that we, as uniquely female persons, encounter during all stages of our lives. Many of these health issues have to do with our skin, the largest organ in the human body.

Our special focus on women’s wellness & health aims to familiarize you with the skin conditions you may develop throughout your lifetime and to encourage all women to seek professional treatment from an experienced dermatology provider.

“A holistic approach to treatment takes each woman’s lifestyle, diet & nutrition, and personal/family medical history into account. These considerations are sometimes overlooked, but provide important insight into symptoms.  Our goal is to ensure each and every women has a thorough understanding of their condition, how it’s connected to their overall wellbeing — and to provide an accurate diagnosis with an effective treatment plan for recovery.”  -- Maria Petkova, NP-C

Skin Cancer & Sun Exposure

Women may be diagnosed during their lifetimes with any of the three main types of skin cancers and they are being diagnosed at a much younger age than ever before.

Statistics from The American Academy of Dermatology estimate more than 3 million Americans a year will be affected by non-melanoma skin cancers including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Incidence rates of these non-melanoma skin cancers are increasing, with the greatest increase being among women.

There have also been significant increases in young women being diagnosed with Melanoma. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the second most common form of skin cancer in females age 15-29, more than males of the same age group. Before age 50, melanoma incidence rates are higher in women than in men. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with Melanoma on their legs and arms and men on their back, head and neck.  

While exposure to natural and artificial light are a skin cancer risk factor for all types of skin, women are more likely to use indoor tanning techniques than men, significantly increasing their risk. Researchers estimate that indoor tanning may cause upwards of 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the US each year. Melanomas in Caucasian women younger than 45 has increased 6.1% annually, which may reflect use of indoor tanning.

Skin cancers can affect anyone, regardless of skin color. Unfortunately, patients with skin of color are often diagnosed when skin cancers are in later stages, making them more difficult to treat.

Vulvar Skin Cancer

This often overlooked form of cancer can be deadly. According to the American Cancer Society, women in the US have a 1 in 133 chance of developing vulvar cancer during their lifetimes. Risk of developing vulvar cancer increases with age; over 80% of cases involve women over 50, and most are diagnosed with invasive vulvar cancer at age 70. About 6,190 vulvar cancers will be diagnosed and about 1,200 women will die from this type of cancer this year.

The delay in diagnosis is currently over 24-months, considerably longer than other reproductive cancers. Many women are unaware of this form of skin cancer and assume when they visit their OB/GYN for an annual Pap test, that they’re covered. Pap tests screen only for cervical cancers, not vulvar skin cancers.

Anti-Aging & Cosmetics

Healthy aging and maintaining a youthful appearance is important for many women. For some women this means maintaining a healthy lifestyle and making vitamin and dietary choices that promote healthy skin.

For other women, it may also mean skin rejuvenation and wrinkle reduction techniques such as retinoids, Botox, dermal fillers or laser procedures.

Medical Dermatology

Several dermatologic conditions are heavily influenced by hormonal changes. Some are unique to women or more likely to affect women. Treatments may also be different for women than men. Several examples include: 

  • Acne 
  • Rosacea 
  • Hair loss 
  • Autoimmune diseases 
  • Pregnancy
  • Optimal nutrition and diet for many chronic conditions