Our skin protects our body from infection, injury, and the damaging effects of the sun. However, skin cells can become mutated and cancerous due to exposure to the sun and harmful UV rays. As a result, skin cancer is most likely to develop in the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of skin.
You can perform a quick self-exam for skin cancer at home, but everyone should receive a full skin exam from a dermatologist annually. However, if you notice a new growth or spot during a self-exam, you should make an appointment with your dermatologist immediately or call the CareMount Medical Cancer Center Referral Line at 1-844-484-3292.
The dermatology and skin cancer experts at CareMount Medical have been extensively trained to detect skin cancer and melanoma at its earliest stage.
It is vital that anyone who notices any skin abnormalities should schedule an appointment with a cancer specialist as soon as possible for a full skin cancer screening. During the screening, your dermatologist will discuss your family history, timeline of symptoms, and any other relevant information regarding the bump or lesion.
The doctor will then perform a physical exam in which he/she will note the size, shape, color, and texture of the skin abnormality. He/she will also determine if there is any bleeding or crusting in the affected area. Finally, your doctor may perform a full body skin exam to ensure that there are no additional growths of concern.
CareMount Medical is at the forefront of technological advances in detecting and diagnosing all cancers. Specifically for skin cancer, our doctors use a technique called dermatoscopy, which helps examine potentially cancerous lesions much more clearly and increases the chances of detecting skin cancer at an early stage. The dermatoscope magnifies the area in question and may even prevent the need for a skin biopsy.
If the doctor believes that a certain area may be cancerous, they may choose to perform a skin biopsy. In its simplest terms, a biopsy removes part or all of the suspicious area. The type of biopsy performed will depend on which type of cancer the doctor believes it may be and the size of the growth.
Skin cancer is most likely to develop in the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of skin. The epidermis is made up of three types of tissue: squamous cells, basal cells, and melanocytes. The type of skin cancer that develops depends on which part of the epidermis is affected.
|Cancer Type||Chance of Spreading||Description|
|Basal Cell Carcinoma||Very rarely spreads to other parts of the body.||Basal cells line the deepest layer of the epidermis and can appear as open sores, shiny bumps, red patches, or lesions that resemble a scar.|
|Squamous Cell Carcinoma||Grows slowly, but can spread to other parts of the body.||Squamous cells make up most of the epidermis. Cancerous growths in these cells can appear as elevated growths, warts, scaly patches, open sores, and may crust or bleed.|
|Melanoma||Can spread aggressively to other areas of the body and is by far the most dangerous skin cancer type.||Melanocytes produce pigment and reside in the basal layer of the epidermis. Most commonly, melanomas look like moles and are black or brown in color.|
*statistics collected from skincancer.org
To schedule an appointment or obtain a second opinion on your diagnosis, please call the CareMount Medical Cancer Center Referral Line at 1-844-484-3292.