Skin Cancer Information
Skin Cancer in Florida
Skin Cancer is by far the most common malignant tumor in humans. The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma begin as a single point in the upper layers of the skin and slowly enlarge, spreading both along the surface and downward. These extensions cannot always be directly seen. The tumor often extends far beyond what is visible on the surface of the skin. If not completely removed, both types of skin cancer may invade and destroy structures in their path. Metastasis of basal cell carcinoma is extremely rare and usually occurs only in the setting of long-standing, large tumors where the patient’s immune system is compromised. Squamous cell carcinoma is more dangerous, and patients must be observed for any spread of the tumor. Melanoma is a different and more dangerous kind of skin cancer which is not treated with Mohs Micrographic Surgery by Dr. Weisberg.
Excessive exposure to sunlight is the single most important factor associated with the development of skin cancers. In addition, the tendency to develop these cancers appears to be hereditary in certain ethnic groups, especially those with fair complexions and poor tanning abilities. Fair-skinned people develop skin cancers more frequently than dark-skinned people, and the more sun exposure they receive, the more likely they are to develop a skin cancer. Other factors, including exposure to radiation, trauma and exposure to certain chemicals, may also be involved in the development of skin cancers. Skin cancers may be more aggressive in certain instances: patients whose immune system is compromised, patients with a medical history of leukemia or lymphoma, cancers in certain locations such as the ear, lips, nose, or around the eyes.
Skin Cancer Therapies
There are various methods for the treatment of skin cancers. The nonsurgical treatments are cryotherapy (deep freezing), Aldara cream, and radiation therapy. The surgical methods include simple excision, physical destruction (curettage with electrodesiccation) and Mohs micrographic surgery.
The treatment of each skin cancer must be individualized, taking into consideration such factors as patient’s age, location of the cancer, type of cancer and whether or not the cancer has been treated previously. In some instances, more than one type of therapy may be appropriate. But in most cases, only one or two of the options are reasonable.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
The most common type of skin cancer, is slow growing but progressively enlarging, will expand into and destroy healthy skin, cartilage and bone. Early diagnosis is of the utmost importance as the earlier it is caught the easier for it to be adequately treated. Treatment for basal cell carcinoma will be determined by the location, depth and size of the lesion.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
The second most common type of skin cancer mostly resulting from overexposure to the sun. However, squamous cell carcinoma can develop on any area of the skin. If not caught in time Squamous Cell Carcinoma carries a risk of metastasis to other areas of the body. Various methods are available to effectively treat squamous cell carcinoma. Treatment for squamous cell carcinoma will be determined by the location, depth and size of the lesion.
A type of skin cancer which has a strong hereditary component. Darkening or changing moles should be checked to make sure they are not a melanoma. When diagnosed at an early stage, treatment methods can be effective. If left untreated malignant melanoma can be deadly. Regular skin screenings by a dermatologist in addition to self –screening can be the best defense against malignant melanoma. Treatments for malignant melanoma vary depending on the depth of the lesion.
Other Skin Cancers
There are many less common skin malignancies that we evaluate and treat. One example is Atypical Fibroxanthoma. Once the diagnosis is confirmed by a skin biopsy the most appropriate treatment can be coordinated.