Skin cancer is one of the most life-threatening and severe concerns that dermatologists face. At Bay Dermatology, our Tampa dermatologists take the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of this condition very seriously. Because it can sometimes look like other types of benign skin lesions, it is important to understand the common characteristics of benign lesions and cancerous skin lesions. Teaching our patients how to recognize skin cancer can be the difference between their receiving early diagnosis and a late-stage diagnosis.
What Is Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells-and most often develops in areas exposed to the sun, but can also develop in places that don’t normally get sun. The healthy cells in our bodies replicate in a specific and orderly way. Cancer damages cellular DNA, which causes the cells to reproduce too quickly. The three major types are: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. When it comes to offering effective skin cancer treatments the experts at Bay Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery are here for all your needs.
Melanoma is a relatively rare form of cancer. It most commonly affects the skin but can also involve other areas such as the mouth, eyes or intestines. Among women, it usually occurs on the legs, while in men it is usually on the back. The main cause of melanoma is due to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Tanning beds and sunlight are a main source of ultraviolet light. Risk factors include positive family history of melanoma, having many moles, and those with genetic defects. The diagnosis of melanoma can be achieved through a biopsy of the affected area. Prevention of melanoma includes avoiding UV rays and using sunscreen. Melanoma is the deadliest of the skin cancers, but caught early, has a very good prognosis!
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and is the most frequently occurring of all the cancers. BCCs arise from abnormal, uncontrolled growth of basal cells. This cancer typically appears as a white waxy lump or a brown scaly patch on sun-exposed areas, such as face and neck. This cancer usually grows very slowly and often doesn’t show up for many years after intense or long term exposure to the sun. When you have completed treatment, your doctors will still want to watch you closely.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. Although it can be quite aggressive, it usually is not life threatening. If it is left untreated though, it can grow large or spread to the other parts of the body, causing serious complications. Most SCC is a result of prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, either from tanning beds or the sunlight.
Questions About What Skin Cancer Looks Like?
With early treatment the prognosis for skin cancer is good. Even melanoma, which can be deadly, has a cure rate of almost 99 percent when treated early. Even if you get a clean bill of health, you need to continue to see your dermatologist. Once a person gets skin cancer, the risk of getting another skin cancer is higher. Sometimes skin cancer returns. Your dermatologist will tell you how often you should return for checkups.
Skin screenings are essential to give you the best outcome possible. For over 30 years Bay Dermatology Tampa has been dedicated to the health and beauty of your skin. Please contact our experts today with any concerns or questions at (727) 585-8591.