Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. In fact, around 1 in every 5 people in the United States will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Skin cancer can develop in people of all ages, skin tones, and genders. However, skin cancer is also the most easily treatable form of cancer when it’s detected early. When it’s detected early, it can be removed with the help of a Dermatology Certified provider.
Skin cancer occurs when skin cells begin to grow out of control and form a growth on the surface of the skin. The biggest risk posed by skin cancer is that it can metastasize and spread to the deeper tissues of the body, including the vital organs. At this stage, it is much more difficult to treat and can become much more deadly.
Skin cancer commonly forms on areas of the body that are regularly exposed to sunlight like the face, shoulders, neck, scalp, ears, and nose. There are three different types of skin cancer and each can present differently. They include:
- Basal Cell Carcinoma: BCC is the most common form of skin cancer. It typically looks like a flesh-colored, pinkish, or pearl-like bump.
- Melanoma: Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. It can develop in existing moles or present like a new mole that suddenly appears.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma: SCC is the second most common form of skin cancer. It typically looks like a sore that doesn’t heal and may be a firm, red bump or have scales.
Melanoma can be difficult to detect without knowing what to look for. The ABCDEs of melanoma can help guide you when you’re determining if a mole is concerning or not:
- A for Asymmetry: Typical moles are roughly symmetrical meaning that the sides mirror each other if you were to draw a line through it. Cancerous moles may be asymmetrical in color, border, size, or other factors.
- B for Border: Typical moles have a clear border and are generally discernable from the skin around them. A cancerous mole may seem blurry, scalloped, or uneven along the edges.
- C for Color: Typical moles are dark brown or black. A cancerous mole may suddenly change color, becoming lighter or darker, or even develop abnormal colors like blue, red, or white.
- D for Diameter: Typical moles are smaller than the size of a pencil eraser in diameter (although some healthy moles can be larger). Cancerous moles can be larger or can change size rapidly.
- E for Evolving: Typical moles don’t change over time and will look the same throughout adulthood. Cancerous moles may suddenly change with any of the above factors.
REAL PATIENT RESULTS
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UV rays from the sun or tanning beds cause skin cancer. Over time and throughout years of sun exposure, the skin cells can become damaged and prone to reproducing out of control. This results in cancerous growth. Anyone can get skin cancer but people who tan, spend a lot of time in the sun, have severe sunburns, or don’t wear sunscreen are drastically more likely to get skin cancer.
It’s also important to note that skin cancer can still occur in areas that aren’t often exposed to skin cancer. For this reason, it’s essential to be regularly screened by our certified dermatology providers.
Skin cancer treatment usually begins with an assessment of the growth and a biopsy to discover the type of cancer. There are many different ways to treat skin cancer which will depend on your unique circumstances and type.
Skin cancer is most easily treated when it’s detected early (before it has spread to other areas of the body). There are a number of in-office surgical options available including surgical excision or MOHS surgery.
There is also curettage-electrodesiccation, a combination process that “shaves” the growth off and applies high-frequency current to the area to further destroy the cancerous tissue. This technique has a high rate of success and can also be performed using local anesthesia.
Unfortunately, all of these options can come with an increased chance of leaving scars, which makes it unfavorable for growths in visible areas like the face or neck. By far the most effective option is image-guided superficial radiation therapy (IG-SRT), a form of external radiotherapy. It’s a non-surgical option that focuses low-dose radiation from outside the body to the non-melanoma skin cancer to kill it. It comes with no discomfort, no downtime, and no scarring. SRT is our preferred therapy for skin cancer treatment and it has a success rate of 99.3%.
If you have an immediate concern, you want to find quality care as soon as possible. Our office takes walk-in appointments and will be happy to address your concerns and offer you immediate treatment suggestions and medical care.LEARN MORE
When treating skin cancer, there is always the chance that it will come back. For this reason, it’s extremely important to wear daily sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and stop tanning immediately. Additionally, make sure to perform a skin self-check regularly to monitor for any new growth. Finally, follow up regularly with our Dermatology Certified provider for a professional skin exam as often as recommended.
Successfully treating skin cancer requires the knowledge and experience of a certified dermatology provider. To meet with our team, call our Terre Haute, IN office, fill out our online contact form, or “Walk In Now.”
RYAN T. PATTERSON FOUNDER/CEO, DCNP
Ryan is State Licensed and Nationally Board Certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner (NP-C) by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Additionally, he is board certified as a Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner (DCNP) by the Dermatology Nursing Certification Board. He has 20+ years of Dermatology Experience.Meet The Team
“My wife and I had our first visit to Biltmore Dermatology. Doctor and staff were very friendly and helpful. Was able and willing to answer all our questions that we brought up. So thankful to have staff with attitudes of caring when having to go through a stressful medical condition. My wife and I thank you.” – William P.
“I could not be more pleased with my visit today. Everyone was especially nice and compassionate. I had a procedure done and was in and out within an hour!! Highly recommend.” – Debbie E.
“I want to thank Dr. Biltmore for seeing me today to help me finally get on the the path to healing my nurse Rose was excellent I felt so comfortable you guys were awesome I was so embarrassed and you guys made a huge difference in my life today. !! Thank you again so very much!!” – Michelle G.
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