FOR YOUR SKIN
Skin Cancer Treatment & Prevention
When it comes to skin cancer, early diagnosis is your best form of defense. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends an annual skin exam.
When you come in for an appointment with one of our experienced providers, we'll give you a full assessment of the status of your body's largest organ - your skin. Below are the ABCDE’s of skin cancer:
A - Asymmetrical shape: Skin cancers are typically irregular, or not symmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.
B - Border: Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Skin cancers usually have irregular borders that are difficult to define.
C - Color: The presence of more than one color or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of skin cancer. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.
D - Diameter: Skin cancers are often greater than 6 millimeters in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser).
E - Evolution: The evolution of your mole(s) has become the most important factor to consider when it comes to skin cancer. Knowing what is normal for YOU may save your life. If a mole has gone through recent changes, get it checked by a dermatologist immediately.
Types of skin cancer
Basal cell cancer (BCC) originates from the lowest layer of the epidermis and is the most common skin cancer.
Squamous cell cancer (SCC) originates from the middle layer, and is less common but more likely to spread and, if untreated, become fatal.
Melanoma, which originates in the pigment-producing cells, is the least common, but most aggressive, most likely to spread and, if untreated, become fatal.
Skin cancer treatment options
Excisional skin surgery: The area where the skin cancer appears is numbed and is removed with a scalpel. Sutures are then placed to close the wound.
Mohs surgery: Thin layers of the skin cancer are shaved away and simultaneously examined under a microscope. In this procedure only the necessary amount of skin that contains the tumor is removed. It may be recommended for certain areas of cancer on the face, ears, or scalp.
Electrodessication and curettage: This is used to remove superficial basal cell carcinomas. A tool shaped like a spoon (called a curettage) removes the cancer and then an electrical current is released to kill any cancer cells not removed by the curettage.
Topical chemotherapy: This treatment is used when the skin cancer covers an area too large to undergo a surgical procedure. Topical chemotherapy is applied directly to the skin in the form of a cream or lotion to kill the cancerous cells.
Skin cancer prevention
Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
Do not burn.
Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.
Reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
See your dermatologist every year for a professional skin exam. Schedule your appointment today!