Learn More About Skin Cancers
Skin cancer affects nearly 20 percent of all Americans at some point. While a serious condition, it is typically completely curable when caught and treated early. In most instances, skin cancer is identified by the patient as they are more familiar with what is normal for their skin. At that point, it’s time for a professional to get involved quickly to get a confirmed diagnosis. Dr. Bolante at Parasol Dermatology is available to help patients battle skin cancer.
Skin Cancer and How Parasol Dermatology Can Help
One of the important steps you can take to help prevent skin cancer is to wear sunscreen when spending time outdoors. You can also learn how to examine your skin, and see a dermatologist regularly to check on the health of your skin. These steps will alert you to possible changes and reduce your overall risk of having a protracted battle with skin cancer. While skin cancer is a distinct class of cancer, other cancers can also affect the skin. These include lymphatic cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma and T-cell lymphoma. Cancers that develop in other regions of the body may also spread to your skin.
The term skin cancer itself isn’t a single type of cancer but describes a range of cancers that impact the skin. Each type of skin cancer is defined by the types of cells that it affects. The three most frequently seen forms include:
- Basal cell carcinoma: This cancer is the type that is most frequently encountered. More than one million people will receive a BCC diagnosis each year. This form of cancer affects the basal cells located deep within the epidermis. It often appears as a pearly or shiny bump that is often translucent. It can also appear as a scar that won’t heal, a pink and elevated growth, a patch of red and irritated skin or a waxy lesion. It frequently appears on sun-damaged skin, such as the back, scalp, chest, face and ears. The surrounding tissue can be protected with early diagnosis and treatment.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): The squamous cells are located in the upper layer of the skin, where SCC begins. There are in excess of 200,000 cases of SCC reported in the United States each year. It first appears as a patch of scaly skin that is inflamed and red and often resembles a growing bump. Crusted patches of skin or a non-healing ulcer may also be signs of SCC. Like BCC, it most often appears in the parts of the skin that are frequently exposed to the sun.
- Melanoma: The melanocytes are the cells that give our skin pigmentation. Melanoma is one of the most deadly forms of cancer as it can quickly metastasize throughout the body. In the United States alone, one person dies from this disease every hour. When detected early and treated properly, it’s possible to correct with a minor surgical procedure. Once melanoma has spread beyond the skin, mortality rates rise significantly.
In addition to frequent self-examination, it’s important for those over 50 to get a full-body exam each year. The first screening will include a full history of how much time you spend in the sun. Dr. Bolante will start the physical examination at your scalp and move down over your entire body. You will be gowned throughout this examination.
Treatment Options At Parasol Dermatology
The precise method to treat your skin cancer will depend on several factors. The stage of cancer, the Rhesus factor (RH) type of cancer and various other factors will come into play. Options available at Parasol Dermatology include electrodesiccation, which uses heat to eliminate the skin lesions. We also provide cryosurgery options, which involve applying liquid nitrogen to the affected area. The now-dead skin is scraped away in a process known as curettage. Other options are available, which will be presented during your consultation with Dr. Bolante.