Skin cancer affects the cells of the skin. The formulation of extra cells can create a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor. These growths can either be benign or malignant. Benign growths are not life-threatening, do not spread, and can be removed. Malignant growths refer to cancerous lesions that can invade tissues and organs that are near the source or spread throughout the body. The two most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma, cause only about 1 out of every 1,000 deaths from cancer. Malignant melanoma, though less common can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated early.
The two most common types of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. All types of cancer typically form on sun-exposed areas of the head, face, neck, hands, and arms, but they can occur anywhere on the body. Rarely spreading, basal cell skin cancer generally grows slowly. Squamous cell skin cancer occasionally spreads to lymph nodes and other internal organs. Most basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers can be cured if found early and treated immediately. Melanoma occurs in people of all ages and skin color. Melanoma usually appears as an irregular pigmented growth and if not detected early, increases the risk of metastasizing throughout the body. With early diagnosis and treatment, melanoma has a high cure rate. Yearly skin cancer screening is recommended to detect and treat these cancers in their earliest stage.
The most common sign of skin cancer is a change on the skin. This can be anything from a new growth, a sore that doesn't heal, or a change in an old growth. Some of the things you should look out for include:
While skin cancer treatment is varied, most basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas can be treated by electrodesiccation and curettage (ED&C), excision, or MOHS Surgery. MOHS surgery is a specialized tissue-sparing surgical technique for certain skin cancer situations. Additional less frequently used techniques involve cryosurgery, radiation, and topical therapy. Malignant melanoma treatment requires surgical excision and possibly a sentinel lymph node biopsy to determine if the cancer has metastasized.
Checking your skin for new growths or other changes is an essential preventative measure. If you are unsure about a bump, or suspicious about a change in your skin schedule an appointment with Dr. Woolrich today to help in the diagnosis and treatment of any skin problems, including skin cancer.
Dr. Woolrich accepts most major insurances. If you have any questions, please feel free to give our office a call and one of our knowledgeable staff members will be happy to help.
Our office is handicap accessible and English, Spanish and Hebrew are spoken.
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