Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Don’t Leave Skin Cancer Untreated
Skin Cancer Is Important, Don’t Let it Go Untreated
It can be a scary realization the moment you believe you may have skin cancer. Maybe you did a self-examination or discussed your concerns with your dermatologist. What is important are the next steps you take while being diagnosed and getting treatment as soon as possible. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can do a body examination, diagnose you, and explain your treatment options. Below we will learn about the skin treatment options available to you based on the type of skin cancer you have and the severity of it.
Not all skin cancer is the same, though they do have one thing in common – sun exposure. Sun exposure is not the only cause of skin cancer, as genetics and skin type also play a role. We should still be cautious and aware of the amount of sun we are exposed to and always make sure we are wearing sunscreen. If you do have skin cancer, it will be diagnosed as melanoma, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
Melanoma and How to Treat It
Melanoma is the deadliest of the three skin cancers. It can rapidly spread, causing severe skin and tissue damage or death if not treated quickly. Treatment is simple but must be done as early as possible to be most effective. Treatment for melanoma is generally through Mohs micrographic surgery. This surgery is painless, yet extremely successful for those suffering with melanoma. The dermatologist will begin by putting a topical anesthetic on the area affected by the skin cancer. They will then remove the affected tissue and test it for skin cancer. Layers of tissue are continually removed and tested until skin cancer is no longer detected. The dermatologist then stitches the area together and you will come back in a few weeks to have them removed and make sure the healing process is going smoothly.
BCC, SCC, and Treatment Options
BCC develops in the top layer of the skin and is the most common form of skin cancer. If you notice pearly bumps or a sore that does not heal, you may have BCC. It is often found on the face, ears, scalp, or chest. SCC is less common than BCC but is reported more than 200,000 times yearly in the United States. It appears on the upper layers of skin frequently exposed to the sun, but can also appear on skin not exposed to the sun. SCC resembles a growing bump or crusted patch of skin. Both BCC and SCC have similar treatment options and should be treated as soon as possible to prevent them from causing more damage.
Shave or scissor excisions are the most common skin cancer treatment options for those diagnosed with BCC or SCC. A shave excision is a quick and painless procedure. The dermatologist will scrape the cancerous mole off the top layer of skin. During a scissor excision, the dermatologist will dig a bit deeper into the skin to get the mole out and clear your body of the cancer.
If you are in Bloomington, Illinois or the surrounding areas and are concerned you could possibly have skin cancer, complete this form to discuss screening and potential treatment options.