Skin Cancer Diagnosis and Treatments in Roseville

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Our Skin Cancer Treatment

What Exactly is Skin Cancer?

Exces­sive expo­sure to sun along with char­ac­ter­is­tics such as fair com­plex­ion can make one sus­cep­ti­ble to skin can­cer. Skin can­cer is the most com­mon form of all can­cers. Accord­ing to the Skin Can­cer Foun­da­tion, more than 3.5 mil­lion skin can­cers in over 2 mil­lion peo­ple are diag­nosed annually.

Some skin can­cers can be quite aggres­sive and chal­leng­ing to treat. Because ear­ly detec­tion is crit­i­cal, der­ma­tol­ogy patients are reg­u­lar­ly exam­ined to iden­ti­ty sus­pi­cious skin con­di­tions. Typ­i­cal­ly they will exam­ine the areas that are exposed to the sun includ­ing the face, hands, arms and neck. When a skin can­cer has been detect­ed, our der­ma­tol­o­gy office offers the most advanced treat­ment options.

Types of Skin Cancer

The three most com­mon types of skin can­cer are basal cell car­ci­no­ma (the most com­mon and least dan­ger­ous), squa­mous cell car­ci­no­ma, and melanoma (the least com­mon but most dan­ger­ous type). These names come from the name of the type of cell that becomes can­cer­ous, a basal cell, a squa­mous cell, or a melanocyte.

Can­cer is a very fright­en­ing word that is used to describe many very dif­fer­ent dis­eases with many very dif­fer­ent prog­noses. Most cells that make up the body divide and repro­duce in an order­ly man­ner at a set slow pace. This allows the body to grow, replace worn-out tis­sue and repair injuries. If one of these cells is injured in some way (for exam­ple, by the sun) and becomes can­cer­ous, it begins to repli­cate and divide much more quick­ly. With the cell divid­ing more rapid­ly, the body is unable to process all of the new cells and a mass or ball of these cells is formed. This mass of new cells is called a tumor.

In some tumors, the cells may break away from the mass, trav­el in the blood or lym­phat­ic stream and set up in anoth­er part of the body and con­tin­ue grow­ing and invad­ing the tis­sue. This process is called metas­ta­siz­ing and is asso­ci­at­ed with the more dan­ger­ous forms of can­cer. This almost nev­er occurs in basal cell car­ci­no­mas and is rare in squa­mous cell car­ci­no­mas that are small­er than two cen­time­ters in width. Although not com­mon with today’s advanced diag­nos­tic and ther­a­peu­tic meth­ods, melanoma is most like­ly to metas­ta­size and spread to oth­er parts of the body such as the lungs, liv­er and bones.

doctor examining patient for skin cancer

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell car­ci­no­ma (BCC) is a skin can­cer that aris­es from basal cells. Basal cells are found in the low­er lay­ers of the skin. The prog­no­sis for patients with BCC is excel­lent, but if the lesion is left untreat­ed, it can cause sig­nif­i­cant dis­ease pro­gres­sion. BCC occurs pri­mar­i­ly on the face, head, scalp, neck, and hands.

Basal Cell Car­ci­no­ma can include the fol­low­ing characteristics:

  • Waxy appear­ance
  • Pearly appear­ance
  • Ero­sion or ulcer­a­tion — often in the cen­ter with pigmentation
  • Bleed­ing — espe­cial­ly when traumatized
  • Ooz­ing or crust­ed areas — espe­cial­ly in large BCCs
  • Rolled (raised) border
  • Translu­cen­cy
  • Slow grow­ing: 0.5 cm in 1-2 years

Patients with a his­to­ry of skin can­cer should have reg­u­lar full body skin exams per­formed by their der­ma­tol­o­gist, and all patients should per­form month­ly self examinations.

Squa­mous Cell Carcinoma

Squa­mous Cell Car­ci­no­ma is the sec­ond most com­mon skin can­cer. It aris­es from the super­fi­cial lay­ers of the skin and is direct­ly relat­ed to cumu­la­tive sun expo­sure. It often presents as a rough patch that bleeds, or as a rapid­ly grow­ing red bump that bleeds or is ten­der. It may arise from an actinic ker­ato­sis. There is a pos­i­tive risk of metas­ta­sis most­ly in high risk patients (immun­od­e­fi­cient) and treat­ment for a squa­mous cell car­ci­no­ma is pri­mar­i­ly surgical.

Malig­nant Melanoma

Melanoma is a skin can­cer of the melanocytes which are the pig­ment pro­duc­ing cells of the skin. Melanoma is the most dan­ger­ous form of skin can­cer, but if rec­og­nized and treat­ed ear­ly it is almost always cur­able. The major­i­ty of melanomas are black or brown but, they can also be skin col­ored, pink, red or pur­ple. Melanoma is caused main­ly by intense occa­sion­al UV expo­sure and sun­burns. The ABCDE warn­ing signs of melanoma are growths that are:

  • A — asymmetrical
  • B — bor­ders — uneven
  • C — col­or — hav­ing a vari­ety of col­or in the growth
  • D — diam­e­ter — usu­al­ly larg­er than the size of an eras­er on a pencil
  • E — evolv­ing — chang­ing in size, shape, col­or or ele­va­tion. Also with new symp­toms such as bleed­ing, itch­ing or crusting

Diagnosing Skin Cancer

A consultation is the first step towards effective skin cancer treatment. The doctor will evaluate whether the suspicious skin lesion is cancerous or benign.

An examination of the lesion will be performed. This examination will also help identify the type of skin cancer you may have and the stage of the condition. A biopsy may be ordered to determine the exact nature of the lesion.

Once your skin cancer has been diagnosed, it will be time to consider your treatment options. When deciding on the proper treatment, we will evaluate your medical records, including current medications, allergies, and past treatments.

We will create a treatment plan based on factors like the stage and type of skin cancer being addressed. The treatment plan will be discussed, along with the expected results and a cost estimate. Preparation and aftercare will also be discussed.

Feel free to ask questions during the consultation. We’re happy to help you feel as comfortable as possible when deciding on the specifics of your treatment.

Is Skin Cancer Removal Covered by Insurance?

Skin cancer removal is considered a reconstructive procedure. This means that most healthcare insurance providers cover the cost of the procedure. You will need to contact your insurance provider to get an accurate answer regarding the price of your skin cancer removal procedure.

How to Lessen the Risk of Developing Skin Cancer

There are a number of ways that you can minimize the risk of developing skin cancer in the future. The main cause of skin cancer is overexposure to ultraviolet radiation. Therefore, you can start by properly protecting your skin from sun damage.

Wear sun-protective clothing as often as possible when you are exposed to sunlight. In addition, apply water-resistant sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. You need to reapply sunscreen every two hours.

Avoid using tanning beds. You can use self-tanning products, but still apply sunscreen. Lastly, coming in for regular skin exams is very important.

Contact Us Today

If you think you may need skin cancer diagnosis and treatment in Roseville, visit Placer Dermatology. Placer Dermatology specializes in the treatment and removal of skin cancer and has a multitude of solutions to create an effective, individualized plan for you. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.