There are more than three million new cases of skin cancer in the United States each year. The number of cases has increased at such a fast rate that now over half of all new cancers are skin cancers. At Skin Cancer Specialists, P.C. & Aesthetic Center, we advise patients to visit a dermatologist regularly in order to identify and treat skin cancer as early as possible to control the spread of the disease to other parts of the body.
Skin cancer, like other forms of cancer, is a collection of abnormal cells that grow alongside healthy skin cells. The abnormal cells result from damaged and unrepaired DNA inside otherwise healthy cells. In skin cancer, this damage is often caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Sometimes the cancerous cells look like a regular mole, making regular self-exams and professional vital in order to identify any cancerous growth as early as possible.
Each of these three forms of skin cancer is distinct, and one type does not transform into another type. Almost all cases of skin cancer are related to excessive exposure to ultraviolet light and are more prevalent in fair-skinned individuals. Although it is more prevalent in the older population, skin cancer can occur at almost any age.
In order to reduce the chances of developing skin cancer, it’s important to minimize direct exposure to ultraviolet light as much as possible. Helpful measures include wearing protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, as well as avoiding the outdoors during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun’s intensity is the highest.
A sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 should be liberally applied to all exposed skin, including the tops of the ears, every morning. It is also important to remember to reapply a layer of sunscreen every one to two hours during periods of direct exposure.
It is recommended that patients at risk for skin cancer undergo a skin screening examination by a dermatologist at least once a year. We also recommend monthly self-examinations to check for skin cancer. Screening efforts are especially important in individuals with a history of significant sun exposure, those who have previously had skin cancer, and people who have a family history of skin cancer.
Yes, all forms of skin cancer are treatable thanks to advanced medical technology. Depending on the type, stage, and location of the skin cancer, the Skin Cancer Specialists, P.C. & Aesthetic Center team will create a treatment plan to effectively kill cancer cells before they spread further.
MOHS micrographic surgery: Mohs surgery is a minimally invasive way to remove and treat basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and lentigo maligna that appear in the delicate areas of a patient’s face. The highly detailed precision of a microscope allows doctors to ensure that all of the cancerous cells were successfully removed.
Superficial radiation therapy: This low-energy radiation does not penetrate below the skin, but is effective at treating skin cancer. The process is short, painless, and does not require any anesthesia or recovery time, allowing you to continue with day-to-day life with minimal interruptions.
Blue light (photodynamic therapy): Blue light therapy is an FDA-approved method of treating pre-cancerous lesions called actinic keratoses (AK’S) on the face and body.
Dermatopathology: Sometimes a skin biopsy, or small skin sample, is a useful way to determine the presence or type of skin cancer if a visual inspection is not concrete enough. Dermatopathology involves the study of the skin at the microscopic level in a pathology laboratory. Here at Skin Cancer Specialists, P.C. & Aesthetic Center, we have our own laboratory to enhance patient care and treatment options.
Contact our office to make a skin cancer screening appointment today.