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.