Daily exposure to sunlight increases our risk of acquiring and developing skin-related diseases. One of the most common skin-related diseases in the United States is skin cancer. Skin cancer may appear as a spot or lesion on your skin that may go unnoticed at first. It may sound worrisome, but nearly all skin cancers are treatable if you receive immediate care before it spreads.
Here are different types of skin cancer and how to treat them:
Common Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancers are the growth of abnormal skin cells that can appear as changes in your skin. Prolonged exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet rays is the typical cause of skin cancer.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
A basal cell in the skin produces new skin cells. If you have basal cell carcinoma, the DNA in some basal cells develops a mutation, typically caused by ultraviolet damage. The mutation forces the basal cell to rapidly multiply and grow even when the older cells should die. The affected cells amass, which may form a cancerous tumor.
Basal cell carcinoma usually develops on parts of the body that receive sunlight. However, it may also develop on less exposed body parts. This skin disease appears as lesions or changes in the skin. It may look like growth or a sore on the skin that does not heal. Symptoms of basal cell carcinoma may include:
- A brown, black, or blue lesion with a translucent border
- A translucent whitish, pinkish, or skin-colored bump with visible tiny blood vessels
- A flat, scaly, reddish spot that can become larger in time
- A whitish, waxy, scar-like patch without a defined border
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma starts in squamous cells, which constitute the middle and outer layers of the skin. This type of skin cancer is not life-threatening but can become aggressive if left untreated. If left untreated, this type of skin cancer can continue to grow and spread to other body parts.
Squamous cell carcinoma is often characterized by:
- A firm, reddish bump
- A flat sore that has a scaly exterior
- A sore occurring in a scar or ulcer
- A rough or scaly spot on the lips that may progress into an open sore
- A sore or rough patch inside the mouth
- A raised reddish patch in the anus or on the genitals
The most severe type of skin cancer is melanoma. It occurs in the melanocytes, which are the cells responsible for producing melanin. Melanin is the pigment in charge of your skin color. Melanoma can develop in different parts of the body, including the skin, feet, eyes, and sometimes even in the nose or throat.
Melanomas first appear as new moles or changes in existing moles. It may also develop as a strange-looking growth on the skin. Characteristics of unusual moles that indicate melanoma may be:
- Moles with asymmetrical or irregular shapes
- Moles having irregular, notched, or scalloped borders
- Moles or growths that appear to be multi-colored or have an uneven color distribution
- Moles that are more than six millimeters in size
- Moles that change in appearance over time, such as growing in size or changing shape or color
Skin Cancer Treatments
Skin cancer treatment depends on the stage of cancer. The factors for determining the type of treatment you need are the size, depth, and location of the lesions. Below are some types of treatments for skin cancer:
Surgery involves the removal of the lesion or the cancerous growth.
- Excisional surgery removes the tumor and the healthy tissues surrounding it to ensure the excision of all cancerous cells.
- Electrosurgery involves heat to burn the cancerous tumor.
Mohs micrographic surgery removes the tumor and its surrounding tissue with the use of a scalpel. It is an advanced form of surgical removal that minimizes scarring. It also only uses local anesthesia, so you recover faster and face minimal risk of complications.
Radiation therapy is typically used as additional treatment if the skin cancer has a high risk of recurrence. It is also used for patients with skin cancers in hard-to-reach areas or patients unable to undergo surgery.
Where To Get Skin Cancer Treatment
If you want to learn more about skin cancer or need to undergo treatment, reach out to Georgia Skin Cancer & Aesthetic Dermatology. We have a wealth of experience diagnosing, treating, and preventing conditions like skin cancer.
Call us at (706) 543-5858 or request an appointment online. We offer the best treatments for your skin care needs.