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What are the Common Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer?

andOne in five Americans are likely to develop some type of skin cancer in their lifetime. Research shows that most skin cancers are detected by patients rather than doctors. For this reason, it is extra important to know the signs and symptoms to look for.

Whether you or your dermatologist at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute detects skin cancer, getting a skin cancer treatment in place should be a top priority to prevent the spread and damage of this disease.


Common Forms of Skin Cancer

Learning how to examine your skin for signs and symptoms of skin cancer can dramatically reduce the risks associated with this condition. Here are the three most common forms of skin cancer and what to look for if you’re concerned

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) – Affecting more than 1 million people each year in the United States, BCC is the most common form of skin cancer. BCC skin cancer symptoms appear as either a shiny or translucent bump on the skin, a sore that does not heal, or a reddish, irritated patch of skin. Patients typically find these on areas of the body most often exposed to the sun.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) – SCC skin cancer symptoms may appear as a crusted or scaly area with a red inflamed base resembling a bump or crusted patch of skin. Like BCC, it can appear on skin most often exposed to the sun, but can also appear in areas that are never exposed to sunlight.

Melanoma – This is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer because of how rapidly it can spread. In fact, one American dies from melanoma every hour. Luckily, this form of cancer can be easily cured if detected early enough.

Whether you are diagnosed with BCC, SCC or melanoma, each requires early treatment and detection to avoid spreading and prevent damage to other parts of the body.


Skin Cancer Treatment

Skin cancer treatments broadly depend on which kind of skin cancer is diagnosed. Standard treatments include surgery, such as Mohs micrographic surgery, or a simple excision of the tumor. Other treatments include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. More treatments include photodynamic therapy (which uses a laser light to kill cancer cells),  and chemical peels. Patients may also take part in clinical trials.

While there are a variety of ways to treat skin cancer, prevention is most important. Some precautions include reducing your time in the sun (especially from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m). You can also use sunscreen if you are going to be in the sun. Avoiding tanning beds, and be aware of any new moles or changing lesions on your body.

If you are in Bloomington, Illinois or the surrounding areas and notice any irregularities or want to schedule an appointment to be checked for skin cancer, fill out this form to meet with a dermatologist from Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute. We are here to advise and offer treatment for all types of skin cancer.

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