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Arm Yourself with Knowledge. Here Are the Top 3 Things to Know About Skin Cancer

Knowledge is power and that is especially true when it comes to skin cancer. The more knowledge you have about signs and symptoms to look for, the better chance you have of it getting diagnosed and treated quickly. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute are here to teach you the three things you need to know about skin cancer.

The Top Things to Know About Skin Cancer

1. What Is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is caused by rapidly growing abnormal cells that result in different kinds of tumors. Skin cancer most commonly occurs due to the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or from tanning beds. Skin cancer can be basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) or melanoma.

BCC appears on the most outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, and is the most common form of skin cancer. They typically develop on the face, neck, scalp and shoulders, areas most exposed to the sun. SCC also appears on the epidermis on the face, neck, scalp or hands. It spreads more rapidly than BCC making it a more urgent skin cancer to detect and get treatment for. Melanoma is the most dangerous of the three skin cancers. It can be found on the outer layer of the skin in the form of a mole or beneath the skin. Now that you know what skin cancer, here are the signs and symptoms of skin cancer to be aware of.

2. What Are Signs of Skin Cancer?

The earlier skin cancer is detected, the better opportunity you have of having it removed before it spreads. There are a few things you can do to help detect it. First, examine your skin monthly using the a, b, c, d, and e method. Look for abnormalities in moles on your body, new borders on your moles, a change in color of your moles, an uneven diameter of your moles and the evolution of new moles. If you notice any of these warning signs, reach out to your dermatologist. Lastly, meet with your dermatologist annually so they can check for signs of skin cancer as well. Early detection is best so treatment can begin sooner rather than later.

3. Treatment Is Available

For BCC and SCC that is caught early enough, it can be treated and cured. Treatment should be done quickly after either is discovered. Treatment options include curettage, Mohs surgery, cryosurgery, or laser surgery, just to name a few. Mohs Micrographic Surgery is the most common removal method. It involves the dermatologist removing layers of skin, then testing it for skin cancer. The process is repeated until the skin tests negative for skin cancer. Cryosurgery involves freezing the BCC or SCC. Melanoma treatment can include surgical removal of the melanoma, immunotherapy, chemotherapy or radiation. The treatment option you choose is based on the severity of your skin cancer and different treatments may be used to see what works best.

Don’t let skin cancer scare you. Knowing these three things will help you catch it early enough so you can begin the appropriate treatment. If you are in Bloomington, Illinois or surrounding areas, complete this form. A dermatologist from Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute will be in touch and can help answer any skin cancer questions you have.

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