Skin Cancer Treatment in Lithia, FL
What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells, often in areas that have been exposed to the sun. While it’s important to wear sunscreen and protective clothing when you will be exposed to the sun, research indicates that 1 in 5 Americans will be affected by skin cancer in their lifetime.
What Causes Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer occurs at a cellular level when mutations grow in the DNA. These mutations cause abnormal growth patterns of the cells. One source that plays a significant role in the destruction of cells is ultraviolet (UV) light; this can come from natural sunlight or tanning beds. Other factors can include patient’s skin type, genetics, high altitudes, toxins, and conditions that affect the immune system.
Skin Cancer Symptoms
Skin cancer symptoms can differ with by type, however, a general indication that patients should watch for is an unusual skin growth or sore that doesn’t go away.
Types of Skin Cancer
The 3 most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
1. Basal Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer (BCC):
The most common but least dangerous type of skin cancer. BCC develops after years of frequent exposure to UV-rays through sun or indoor-tanning. It can look like a pearl-like, flesh-colored bump or a pinkish patch of skin. It’s most commonly found on the head, neck, and arms but can be formed anywhere on the body. BCC is most often developed by people with fair-skin but can occur in people with darker skin. Although BCC is the least dangerous, early detection and treatment can prevent the cancer from growing into the nerves and bones, causing disfigurement and damage.
2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer (SCC):
People with light skin are most at risk of developing SCC. It tends to form on skin that gets frequent sun exposure such as the neck, arms, and face. SCC most often looks like a scaly patch, a red firm bump, or a sore that heals and re-opens. If not detected and treated early on, SCC can cause damage and disfigurement by growing deep into the skin.
3. Melanoma Skin Cancer:
Melanoma is the most rare and deadly form of skin cancer. It develops as a mole on the skin. Use the ABCDE method to help with early signs of melanoma:
A: Asymmetry – One half of the mole may differ from the other half
B: Border – Irregular, poorly-defined, or scalloped border
C: Color – The mole may not be an even color. It will vary in shades of black, brown, or tan or sometimes will be red, white, or blue.
D: Diameter – Melanomas are usually bigger than 6 millimeters, which is the size of a pencil eraser. However, they can present at any size.
E: Evolving – The mole may change in shape, color, or size and will look different than benign moles.
Skin Cancer Treatment in Valrico, FL and Lithia, FL
Skin cancer excision treatment is a surgical treatment used to treat skin cancer quickly, with little pain, if the skin cancer is caught early.
Depending on the size of the cancer, treatment can be done in the dermatologist’s office as an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia.
The cancerous area is removed during excision along with some healthy skin tissue surrounding the area (margins). After the cancer is removed, the incision is sealed together by stitches (sutures). The stitches remain in place for one or two weeks depending on the size of the area, and patients are advised to not aggravate the incision by avoiding heavy lifting or anything else that may cause stress to the stitches. The skin cancer excision may leave a small scar that will heal over time.
Other skin cancer treatment options include electrodesiccation and curettage (ED&C) and topical chemotherapy creams.
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