Oncology

Skin Cancer

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Learn how you can prevent skin cancer

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.

When to See a Doctor

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.

Diagnosing Skin Cancer

The dermatology and skin cancer experts at CareMount Medical have been extensively trained to detect skin cancer and melanoma at its earliest stage.

Skin Cancer Screening

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.

Dermatoscopy

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.

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.

Types of Skin Cancer

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

Skin Cancer Treatments

  • Skin Cancer Removal: In cases where a basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or a non-metastatic melanoma (the melanoma has not spread) is detected, surgery will often be recommended to remove the cancerous growth. In most instances, the growth will be removed completely along with a small amount of healthy skin along the edges. We also specialize in two highly effective techniques called Laser Surgery and Mohs surgery.
  • Dermatologic and Laser Surgery: In order to minimize the amount of scarring that is caused by traditional surgical methods, laser surgery is often preferred for non-aggressive forms of skin cancer.  Some lasers vaporize (ablate) the skin’s top layer to destroy lesions. Others (non-ablative lasers) penetrate the skin without removing the top layer.
  • Mohs Micrographic Surgery: Mohs surgery offers the benefit of allowing the doctor to see where the cancer stops during the surgery. This allows the patient to keep as much healthy skin as possible because the surgeon is only removing tissue that is known to be cancerous.

Prevention: Protect Your Skin from the Sun

  • Seek shade. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Wear protective clothing, like a long-sleeved shirt, pants, wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
  • Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen (with SPF 30 or above) to all exposed skin.Reapply every 2 hours, or more. Always do it after swimming or sweating.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand.They reflect the rays of the sun, which increases your chance of sunburn.
  • Avoid tanning beds. You might like the tanned look but unfortunately, the UV light from these beds can cause skin cancer and premature aging. In fact, women aged 18-39 are 8 times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma – due to indoor tanning! It’s the second most common cancer in women in their 20s.
  • Apply sunscreen to dry skin15 minutes before going outdoors.
  • Did you know that skin cancer can also form on the lips? To protect yourself, apply a lip balm that contains SPF 30 or above. 

Schedule a Consultation

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.

Skin Cancer Providers