Skin cancer is a disease characterized by the abnormal growth of skin cells. It most commonly develops on skin exposed to ultraviolet rays, which come from the sun as well as tanning beds.
Skin cancer looks different, depending on the type and how long you’ve had it. Types and visual symptoms include:
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, followed by squamous cell carcinoma. Both forms are most prevalent in people with light skin. Melanoma is less common, but it’s also the most serious and deadly form of skin cancer.
In addition to ample sun exposure, melanoma is most common in people who have one or more of the following risk factors:
If Dr. Stoll suspects skin cancer, a biopsy can help confirm or rule out the diagnosis. When melanoma seems possible, the entire growth is typically removed with a scalpel and then studied by a pathologist. Additional tests could include an MRI, X-ray, or CT scan.
Most cases of skin cancer are found, treated safely and effectively, and cured before they spread. Melanoma can also be treated and cured if it’s caught early enough.
Standard treatments for basal and squamous cell carcinomas often involve removal of the tumors through surgery, skin scraping, low-dose radiation, electric current cauterization, or the use of frozen or liquid nitrogen. If the cancer has spread beyond the skin, chemotherapy or radiation may be needed.
Melanoma tumors need surgical removal, ideally before they’ve spread to other organs. In advanced stages of the disease, chemotherapy or radiation may help slow it down and reduce symptoms.
Other skin cancer treatments include:
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!