Skin Cancer

There are several different types of skin cancer; each presenting with unique symptoms.

What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer refers to any cancer that starts in your skin. The two main types of skin cancer are melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. The latter has two main subtypes: basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Because skin cancer is able to metastasize and spread to nearby tissue and organs as the disease advances, it’s important to perform regular skin cancer checks to increase your chances of early detection and successful treatment. If you think you may have skin cancer, you should see your dermatologist immediately. It’s also important to protect yourself year-round by avoiding UV exposure, seeking shade, using broad-spectrum sunscreen, and wearing sun-safe clothing, hats, and eyewear.


Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Every type of skin cancer presents with unique symptoms.

Non-melanoma skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma) are usually found on areas of the skin that are frequently exposed to UV rays, including the face, neck, scalp, hands, shoulders, arms, and back. BCC can look like a persistent, non-healing sore, a reddish patch or irritated area, a pink growth, or a scar-like lesion. SCC can look like a wart-like growth that crusts and occasionally bleeds, a persistent red patch with irregular borders, an open sore that persists for weeks, or an elevated growth or growth that rapidly increases in size.

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and appears most commonly on the back and legs, but can appear anywhere on the skin’s surface, as well as the mouth, eyes, and areas that aren’t typically exposed to the sun. Melanoma can develop from a pre-existing mole that appears normal but then changes, or can appear as a new irregular-looking spot on the skin.

Not all changes to your skin are caused by skin cancer, but if you are concerned, we encourage you to make an appointment at Skin Science Dermatology. A thorough examination performed by Dr. Geeta Yadav, including biopsy when necessary, will be the first step to planning appropriate skin cancer treatment.

Skin Cancer Treatment Options

Cryotherapy is a quick, in-office procedure that uses extreme cold to rapidly destroy actinic keratoses. Liquid nitrogen is sprayed directly onto targeted skin lesions, freezing them and causing them to slough off while leaving the surrounding area unaffected to minimize the risk of scarring. Learn More

Punch Biopsy

In order to clarify a skin cancer diagnosis, we may perform a punch biopsy, an in-office procedure in which a small, tube-shaped piece of skin is removed using a sharp cutting tool and subsequently examined under a microscope.

Shave with Curettage and Electrodesiccation

Used to remove basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, a curettage and electrodesiccation involves the use of a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette to scrape the affected skin surface and remove the cancerous tissue. The area is then cauterized to increase the chance of success and minimize bleeding.

Surgical Excision

Surgical excision removes the entirety of a skin growth that penetrates further into the skin, typically under local anesthesia. Depending on the growth in question, we can also perform a deep shave removal.

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