Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Why Early Detection is a Must
Why Early Detection for Skin Cancer Is Important
Detecting skin cancer early on allows you to get the treatment you will need as soon as possible to stop the spread. It is important to learn what to look for so you know when to contact a dermatologist. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can help detect, diagnose, and treat skin cancer. Below we will discuss what to look for and various treatment options.
Skin Cancer: What to Look For
As we age, self-body checks for skin cancer in both males and females should be part of our monthly routine. Monthly self-checks increase the chances of early detection versus waiting for your yearly dermatologist check-up. By not doing them you are risking the spread of the cancer and delaying the treatment you may need. Conducting these body checks can help look for unusual lumps or changes in your moles that could be cancerous. If you notice either of these changes, you should immediately schedule an appointment at the dermatologist. Once you are at the dermatologist, they can properly diagnose you.
Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is not a one-size-fits-all diagnosis. It varies from Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma. BCC is the most common form of skin cancer. It develops on the top layer of the skin in the form of a shiny, translucent bump or an elevated growth that does not heal. It is typically found on skin that is most exposed to the sun. This includes the face, ears, scalp, chest and back. Early detection of BCC can prevent damage to the surrounding tissue. SCC is also found on the upper layer of skin in the form of a bump or crusted patch of skin. It can develop anywhere, but BCC is most often found on areas of the body most exposed to the sun. Early detection of SCC can prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body. Another common type of skin cancer is melanoma, which is also the deadliest. Changes in size, shape, or color of a mole can be a sign of melanoma. Early detection of melanoma can save your life by preventing the quick spread of this type of cancer. Once self-diagnosed or diagnosed by a dermatologist with any of these skin cancers, the treatment options will be similar.
Skin Cancer Treatment
The most common and effective skin cancer treatment is Mohs Micrographic Surgery. During this surgery, the cancerous tissue is removed and tested. Tissue continues to be removed until the test comes back negative for cancer. It is relatively painless and recovery time is minimal. Stitches will be needed in addition to follow-up appointments to make sure you have healed properly. Other skin cancer removal options include excisions. A shave excision is for lesions on the skin’s surface. A small blade is used to remove the skin growth. A scissor excision is used for raised lesions. Snips are made around and under the lesion with scissors. Lastly, a surgical excision is for deeper lesions. Stitches may be required as this is more of an invasive removal.
The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute are here to help with the next steps if you detect lumps or changed moles. If you are in the Bloomington, Illinois or surrounding areas, complete this form so we can provide a diagnosis and proper treatment options. We look forward to helping provide you a healthy path moving forward.