The most common type of cancer in the United States is skin cancer. There are many types of skin cancer with the most common being basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Fortunately,most skin cancers can be successfully treated if they are detected at an early stage. A change in your skin such as a new growth, a change in a mole, or a sore that does not heal may be a sign of skin cancer.
If you notice a change in your skin, you should visit Blue Ridge Dermatology right away. Our medical team has the experience and cutting-edge technology necessary to properly diagnose and treat skin cancer.
Skin Cancer Diagnosis
If you have discovered any changes in your skin, you should not automatically assume you have skin cancer. Since skin cancer cannot be diagnosed based on looks alone, we sometimes use a device called a dermoscope that magnifies and shines light on the skin to diagnose this condition.
A dermoscope allows us to thoroughly evaluate the pigment and structures of the area of concern. In the event the area of concern could be skin cancer, a biopsy, which is a fairly fast procedure associated with minimal pain, will be performed so that the presence of cancer cells can be tested for.
Skin Cancer Treatment
The type of skin cancer, where it is located, how aggressive it is, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body will determine the most effective treatment. If the skin cancer has not spread, there are several techniques that we may use to surgically remove it. These techniques include:
- Excision: During an excision, the skin cancer is surgically removed with a small margin of skin that has a normal appearance.
- Mohs Surgery: Mohs surgery is a newer technique that involves removing skin one layer at a time. The layers that are removed are studied under a microscope for cancer cells and the procedure is continued until there are no more cancer cells detected.
- Curettage and Electrodesiccation: Curettage and electrodesiccation is usually performed on small basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma on site. During this technique, the cancer is scraped with a long tool known as a curette. Then, the remaining cancer cells as well as some surrounding tissue will be cauterized or burned. In most cases, this process will be repeated several times and leaves a wound that heals on its own.
Schedule an Appointment at Blue Ridge Dermatology Today
In order to protect yourself and your skin, you should visit Blue Ridge Dermatology at regular intervals, such as a yearly skin exam. This way your skin can be monitored for early signs of skin cancer. Schedule an appointment at our office today.