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Skin cancer is a very serious condition that affects millions of Americans each and every year. It can develop in people of all ages, and is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Studies show that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime.
At Dermatology Consultants, our skilled dermatologists have a wide range of options for treating skin cancers, including surgical removal of the tissue, cryosurgery (freezing the cells), laser removal and photodynamic therapy (using a light-sensitive medication with a laser), and Superficial Radiation Therapy (treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer). Skin cancer surgery is usually done right in our office and typically takes only a few minutes.
When one of our dermatologists detects cells that may be cancerous in your skin, he or she will conduct a thorough examination, typically involving a biopsy, to make an accurate diagnosis. Then he or she will determine if surgery is right for you, and what kind of treatment is ideal for your case.
Types Of Skincancer
There are 3 main types of skin cancer:
The most common type of skin cancer, Basal cell carcinoma usually develops on the head and neck. Caused mainly by sun exposure, this type of skin cancer grows slowly and rarely spreads to other parts of the body.
Squamous cell carcinoma is mainly caused by sun exposure, so it may be diagnosed on many regions of the skin. It can also develop on skin that has been burned, damaged by chemicals, or exposed to x-rays. About 2% to 5% of squamous cell carcinomas spread to other parts of the body.
There are scattered cells called melanocytes where the epidermis meets the dermis. Melanoma starts in melanocytes, and is the most aggressive type of skin cancer. It accounts for only about 1% of all skin cancers but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths. Nearly 20 Americans die from melanoma every day.
A fourth type of cancer, Merkel cell cancer is a highly aggressive, or fast-growing, rare cancer. It starts in hormone-producing cells just beneath the skin and in the hair follicles. It is usually found in the head and neck region. Merkel cell cancer may also be called neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin.
Skin Cancer Screening
Starting at the age of 20, we encourage our patients to perform monthly self-examinations for skin cancer, especially if it runs in your family. We recommend that patients use the ABCDE system for checking your moles.
Additionally, you should come in and have the doctors do a full-body examination at least once a year, more if you have a history of skin cancer. Our skilled dermatologists will examine your skin for suspicious moles or lesions, and take samples, if necessary, to be biopsied by a pathologist. If we detect the three forms of skin cancer – Basal Cell, Squamous Cell or Melanoma – the dangerous cells can be removed.
Mohs Surgery & Surgical Excisions
Mohs is a precise surgical technique used to treat skin cancer, where thin layers of cancer-containing skin are removed and examined repeatedly until only cancer-free tissue remains. This procedure allows for minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue and is usually done on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic.
We also can remove benign or malignant growths, such as moles, lesions, and tumors, from your skin. Usually performed using local anesthesia, which ensures that you feel no pain during the procedure.
Dermatology Consultants has Mohs Surgeons on staff. These board-certified dermatologists are specially trained in skin cancer and reconstructive surgery accredited through the American College of Mohs Surgery (ACMS).
SRT (Superficial Radiation Therapy)
SRT treatments are performed in office a Dermatology Consultants by a Radiation Therapy (RTT). With a 99% cure rate and patient satisfaction, SRT is the ideal treatment to treat non-melanoma skin cancer without surgery. LEARN MORE.
Skin Of Color
Although dark-skinned people have a natural protection against skin cancer, that doesn’t mean it can’t occur. It does – most frequently where skin is lightest, such as the palms, soles of the feet, and around the nail bed. This is most true for Asians, Native Americans, and people of African descent. In Hispanics, melanoma occurs most frequently on the legs. Because it is frequently misdiagnosed as plantar warts (on the soles of the feet), tinea manuum (a fungus occurring on the palms of the hands), or a condition known as talon noir or black heel, and because many people do not seek treatment early on, the melanoma death rate is highest among people with dark skin. The lifesaving answers lie in awareness and early diagnosis.
Skin cancer represents 1 to 2 percent of all cancers in Black people.
Skin cancer represents approximately 2 to 4 percent of all cancers in Asian people.
Skin cancer represents 4 to 5 percent of all cancers in Hispanic people.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer in Black people.
Black patients with melanoma have an estimated five-year melanoma survival rate of 70 percent, versus 94 percent for white patients.
Melanoma in people of color most often occurs on areas that get little sun exposure. Up to 60 to 75 percent of tumors arise on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet under the nail (subungual) and the nail areas.
Black patients are more than three times as likely to be diagnosed with melanoma at a late stage than non-Hispanic white patients. 52 percent of non-Hispanic Black patients and 26 percent of Hispanic patients receive an initial diagnosis of advanced-stage melanoma, versus 16 percent of non-Hispanic white patients.
In nonwhites, the plantar portion of the foot is often the most common site of skin cancer, being involved in 30 to 40 percent of cases.
People of color have higher percentages of acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM, melanoma of the palms, soles and nailbeds) than Caucasians. Superficial spreading melanoma is the most frequent subtype in Caucasians and Hispanics.