MA 278 Human Anatomy and Physiology Case Study

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MA 278 Human Anatomy and Physiology Case Study


Since childhood, Linda has always enjoyed the outdoors. She tries to spend as much time outside in the summer as she can because she lives in the Pacific Northwest, where summers are short. Now, Linda is 62 years old and is taking her grandchildren to the same lake house where she spent long days boating, swimming, and playing sports as a child.

Linda has noticed an itchy skin lesion on the superior portion of her right ear within the past two weeks. She is beginning to worry because it doesn’t seem to be healing. She packed a large-brimmed hat for her lake trip to keep her face and ears out of the sun. She wants to make sure she is helping protect her grandchildren from any potential skin damage, too.

If Linda’s lesion is a sign of cancer, which types of skin cancer do you think it could be? What other information would you need to know to make a more educated diagnosis?

1. Linda’s son thinks a biopsy might be necessary and urges her to follow-up with a dermatologist. In your own words, briefly describe the process of a skin biopsy.

2. In your own words, what is the difference between a benign and a malignant tumor?

3. Linda had a grandfather who was diagnosed with melanoma. She is now wondering if she inherited a gene that has caused her to have melanoma, too. Could this be true? Why or why not?

4. How has Linda’s exposure to sun throughout her life contributed to her possible melanoma? (Hint: think about what happens to the DNA of skin cells.)

5. How can Linda help protect her grandchildren when they are spending time outdoors? Be specific, use your own words, and include at least 3 ideas.

Craig works in a factory and is often exposed to extremely corrosive chemicals. He always follows the proper safety precautions when necessary. One day, his coworker tripped on a staircase and Craig rushed to see if he was okay. As he tried to help his coworker stand up, Craig’s hands and arms began to tingle and burn intensely.

He looked around and realized that the box his coworker was carrying had been filled with a corrosive material and had spilled on his bare hands and arms. Craig immediately ran to the sink and began running water over his skin, while his coworkers called 911. He was rushed to the hospital. While riding in the ambulance, he was in excruciating pain. He observed large blisters forming over his right arm, while his left hand seemed to hurt less than the right, but appeared to be more damaged.

The blisters forming on Craig’s right arm indicate that his burns are at LEAST which type?

  • Did Craig do the right thing by rushing to the sink to rinse his skin with running water? Why or why not?
  • Craig noticed that his left hand appeared to be the most damaged portion of his skin, but it didn’t hurt as intensely as the less damaged skin. In your own words, explain how this is possible.
  • Explain, in your own words, why a full-thickness skin graft may be a better choice for Craig’s wounds when compared to a split-thickness skin graft.
  • Research new types of burn care/treatment. Briefly describe a new burn treatment technique that has been developed in the past 5 years. (Rasmussen’s Library and journal databases are a great place to start your research.)