What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer, the abnormal growth of skin cells, affects more than one million Americans per year; and statistically it ranks as one of the most common types of cancer in the world.
Cancer cells grow at an abnormal rate and multiply at irregular intervals which result in forms of mass known as tumors. Although they are often benign, tumors can become cancerous if the cells begin to advance upon the neighboring tissues and steal their oxygen, space, and other nutrients that cells require for normal functioning.
Skin cancer is most prominent in individuals who:
- Spend a lot of time in the sun or have been sunburned
- Have light-colored skin, hair, or eyes
- Have relatives with skin cancer
- Are 50 years old or over
Types of Skin Cancer
Three major types of skin cancer include: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
- Melanoma: can be found anywhere along the skin. On men, it is commonly seen on the head, neck, or between the shoulders and hips. Women will usually experience it on their lower legs, or between the shoulders and hips. People with darker skin are less likely to contract melanoma.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma: often occurs in people with fair skin due to prolonged exposure to the sun. It is most commonly seen in the face.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma: is more common in people with dark skin, although fair skinned individuals are not exempt, and it occurs in places that are not often exposed to the sun such as the legs and feet. In people with fair skin, Squamous cell cancer can occur in areas that have been exposed to the sun suchas the head, face, ears, and neck.
It is important to limit and avoid over exposure to ultraviolet radiation, and to check your skin for any abnormal changes, in order to reduce the risk of contracting skin cancer. Detecting skin cancer at the early stages will give you an exceptionally higher chance to treat skin cancer.
What are the treatments?
Skin Cancer Detection
The initial signs of skin cancer include gradual, expanding bumps; moles that change in shape or color; and dry, often rough and scaly patches of skin. Dermatologists will carefully examine these conditions to determine if they are associated with skin cancer.
Skin biopsies, in which a skin sample is sent for laboratory testing, are one of the most efficient ways a dermatologist can detect skin cancer. This procedure can accurately reveal the condition of the skin, whether it is cancerous, and how to go about treating it if necessary.
Skin Cancer Removal & Surgery
Healthpointe offers several skin cancer treatments, removal techniques, and surgical options, including:
- Freezing: the malformation is frozen using liquid nitrogen; it then proceeds to fall off as it thaws. This effectively destroys small traces of skin cancer in its early stages.
- Excisional Surgery: the malformation is cut out of the skin along with an extra amount of surrounding, uncontaminated skin; this is an appropriate treatment for all skin cancer regardless of size or severity.
- Mohs Surgery: the malformation is cut out of the skin with minimal removal of the surrounding, uncontaminated skin. It is often used for difficult-to-treat cancers in areas where it is necessary to conserve as much skin as possible, such as on the nose.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you have any questions about risks or would like to schedule an appointment for an exam please call (888) 510-9575 or contact us