Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., and the main cause is UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun. As a full or part-time resident of Florida, where the tropical sun shines year round, you may be exposed to much higher levels of UV radiation. With this increased risk, staying observant to changes in the skin is essential. Fortunately, most types of skin cancer can be very treatable if detected early. Our plastic surgeon, Mark Pinsky, MD, offers a variety of advanced skin cancer treatments designed to remove cancerous lesions and/or reconstruct the area to reduce signs of skin damage.
Please contact us today for more information, or to schedule a consultation.
Skin Cancer Types
The first step in treating skin cancer is recognizing the initial signs. There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, and each one presents with unique symptoms and risks. A brief overview of skin cancer types follows:
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
The most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, is also the least life-threatening. It often appears as a red, scaly patch, a waxy growth with a central indentation, or an open sore that never heals. Extremely treatable, this type of skin cancer is slow-growing and rarely spreads beyond the affected area.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Commonly found in areas of the body that see regular sun exposure, such as the face, hands, and lips, squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer. It can occasionally spread to other areas of the body, including lymph nodes and internal organs if not immediately diagnosed and treated. SCCs are characterized by wart-like sores, scaly patches with irregular borders, or bleeding lesions.
The most life-threatening form of skin cancer, melanomas are often mistaken for moles; however, there are several distinctions. Melanomas may have uneven borders, variation in color, and/or a diameter greater than six millimeters. Sudden changes in previously healthy moles or new skin growths are signs of a melanoma, and they require immediate physician attention. Though dangerous, melanomas are the rarest form of skin cancer and can often be treated if detected early.
Skin Cancer Prevention
One of the most important steps you can take to avoid developing skin cancer is by limiting your sun exposure; however, in Florida that is not always possible. Everyday preventative measures you can take include wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and protective clothing such as sunglasses, hats, and lightweight long-sleeved shirts. Regular screenings by a dermatologist can often catch indications of skin cancer before they become dangerous, reducing the need for invasive techniques. For sensitive skin like face, neck, scalp and hands, we recommend the use of a daily sunscreen. OBAGI offers a wonderful product that can easily be worn under make-up without feeling greasy or thick.
Skin Cancer Treatments
There are several state-of-the-art methods available that can excise lesions and repair surrounding skin in the event of a carcinoma. Dr. Pinsky utilizes advanced techniques to reconstruct the area after skin cancer treatments, reducing visible damage and emphasizing a natural-looking end result. They include:
- Skin cancer/lesion removal
- MOHS repairs
- Full thickness skin graft
- Partial thickness skin graft
- Flap repair
The first step in protecting your skin is making routine visits to a dermatologist. In the event a carcinoma is detected, Dr. Pinsky can help minimize the threat of cancer and often reduce residual signs of treatment.