Many people develop skin cancer in their lifetimes. It is by far the most curable form of cancer though early detection is important for a positive outcome. Skin cancers often vary in appearance from person to person, making them difficult to identify to the untrained eye.
Did you know…
that skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the U.S.? An estimated 2 million Americans are diagnosed with 3.5 million instances of skin cancer every year – representing more cases than those of breast, prostate, colon and lung cancers combined. In fact, the average American has a 1 in 5 chance of being diagnosed with some form of skin cancer at some point in his or her lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I have skin cancer?
Because skin cancer varies so widely in appearance, it is impossible to diagnose yourself. However, you can monitor your skin and moles for changes that warrant a visit to your provider. Examples include lesions or moles that are changing in size, shape and color or those that are bleeding or itching. Your provider may remove suspicious moles altogether or otherwise conduct a biopsy to determine whether malignancy is present.
What should I expect from skin cancer treatment?
If skin cancer is found, you’ll be treated according to the type of cancer you have and its stage. The vast majority of skin cancers are either basal cell carcinomas or squamous cell carcinomas – each of which has extremely high survival rates. However, your provider will still excise these cancers from your skin to prevent cancer growth and potentially greater disfigurement. Depending on the size and location of your skin cancer, it may be treated in the office with surgical excision or laser destruction and local anesthesia, or be removed at the hospital and possibly require sedation or general anesthesia. Some cancers benefit from histologic control of the margins, which incorporates a Pathologist examining the edges of the removed cancer.
Will I need to follow any special instructions after being treated for skin cancer?
To lessen the chances of new or recurrent skin cancers, you will want to minimize exposure to unprotected sun and UV exposure. Also, it is important to constantly evaluate your skin and any moles you may have for changes to their size, shape, color and symmetry. If you find something growing on your skin again, call our office and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.