Nobody wants to hear that they have skin cancer, and we understand that it can be stressful and overwhelming. The good news is, the earlier that skin cancer is detected, the better the chance for a full recovery. If you have noticed a changing mole or suspicious-looking lesion, do not hesitate to reach out to our office as soon as possible. We will work with you to determine the best plan of action to help eliminate your skin cancer.
What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells that usually develops after skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, either through spending time in the sun or the use of UV tanning beds. There are three main forms of skin cancer, including:
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma affects the basal cells of the skin, which produce new skin cells. It commonly occurs in areas that have been exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, ears, scalp, or shoulders. It is caused by both short, intense, and long-term exposure to UV rays.
Common signs and symptoms of basal cell carcinoma include:
- A pearly or waxy bump that grows slowly
- A flat, bright pink scaly patch that bleeds easily
- A lesion that scabs or bleeds, heals, and then returns.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma affects the squamous cells, which are located just below the surface, and perform as the skin’s inner lining. It usually occurs on areas that are commonly exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, and hands. However, individuals with darker skin tones are more likely to develop it in areas that are not exposed to the sun.
Common signs and symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma include:
- A red, firm, nodule.
- A flat lesion with a crusty or scaly surface.
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and can occur anywhere on the body. It affects melanocytes in the skin, which produce new melanin, or pigment. This skin cancer can affect individuals of any skin tone, and is often caused by intense, intermittent exposure to UV rays.
Common signs and symptoms of melanoma include:
- A mole that changes in size, color, appearance, or begins to bleed.
- A small lesion with an irregular border.
- A lesion that contains different colors, including black, blue, white, pink, or red.
- A lesion that growing and changing in size and shape
- A lesion that is not symmetrical
Skin Cancer Treatment Options
We understand that a diagnosis of skin cancer can be overwhelming and stressful, which is why our team will take the time to discuss all of your treatment options with you. There are many different treatment options available, which often involve removing the skin cancer from the body. These include:
Cryosurgery: Involves freezing and destroying small, early skin cancers. The dead tissue will then fall off on its own.
Excisional Surgery: This technique can be used to treat any type of skin cancer. It involves Dr. Gray skillfully cutting out the cancerous tissue, as well as a healthy margin of surrounding skin.
Mohs Surgery: This treatment is used for larger, or recurring skin cancers, such as basal or squamous cell carcinomas.During this procedure, the skin cancer will be removed layer by layer, and examined under a microscope. This is repeated until no abnormal cells are left.
Curettage and Electrodesiccation: This technique is often used to treat superficial Basal Cell Carcinomas. First, the skin cancer growth will be removed. Then, Dr. Gray will scrape away layers of cancerous cells using a special tool called a curet. An electric needle will destroy any leftover cancer cells.