Skin cancer affects a large percentage of the population and is the most common type of cancer. Luckily, it is also one of the easiest to recognize and treat. Catching skin cancer early is essential for successful removal of cancer, as the earlier it is caught the easier it is to remove all of the cancerous cells without damaging a significant amount of surrounding tissue. Left alone, skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body and even become deadly, but when caught early, chances of a full recovery are high.
The expert dermatologists at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology in San Diego have years of experience diagnosing and treating all types of skin cancer and urge their patients to undergo regular skin cancer screenings to lessen the chances of being caught unawares in a late stage of cancer.
How to Self-Check for Skin Cancer
Being aware of your skin is a big part of recognizing potential skin cancer, and dermatologists recommend seeing a doctor immediately if you see any of these ABCDE signs:
- Asymmetrical mole or discoloration
- Border that is blurred or irregular
- Colors that vary or change within the same mole or discoloration
- Diameter of larger than a pencil eraser
- Elevation or evolution of a mole or discoloration
If you spot any of these signs, have the mole or discoloration examined as soon as possible by a board-certified dermatologist with experience in skin cancer. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and catching cancer at an early stage will prevent it from spreading and becoming dangerous.
Types of Skin Cancer
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. Melanoma is the type that most people know about, as it is the most dangerous. If left unchecked, melanoma can spread quickly throughout the body and eventually prove fatal. Melanoma is the rarest of the three, but undoubtedly the most deadly. Melanoma often appears as a mole, so if any irregular moles appear on your body, have them examined immediately.
Treatments for Skin Cancer
Precancerous lesions, also known as actinic keratoses, can often be treated effectively with PDT, or photodynamic therapy. Basal and squamous cell carcinoma in the very earliest stages can also sometimes be treated with PDT. Skin cancer that has progressed beyond the earliest stages are usually best treated with surgery, however. Mohs surgery is considered one of the best skin cancer treatments, as it is done in a very precise manner with the aid of a microscope in order to remove cancerous skin layer by layer until there is none left. Mohs also has the benefit of damaging much less surrounding healthy tissue than other types of surgery. Your dermatologist will discuss the best treatment options for your cancer depending on the size, location, and stage of the cancer, as well as your individual medical history.
Schedule a Skin Cancer Consultation Today
If you suspect that you may have skin cancer, do not hesitate to make an appointment with Cosmetic Laser Dermatology. To learn more about the different types of skin cancer and to schedule your consultation, call (858) 943-2113 today.
Next, read our blog, The Importance of Protecting Your Skin From the Sun.