Skin Cancer

Skin cancer refers to the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of skin cells. One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Risk factors include pale skin, family history of melanoma, being over 40 years old, and regular sun exposure. Fortunately, skin cancer is almost always curable if detected and treated early.

Skin cancer often responds well to treatment, which is why it is important to see a dermatologist regularly. Whether skin cancer is in your family or your job requires that you spend a lot of time outside, skin cancer can develop for a range of reasons. Only regular skin checks, like those offered at our Chesterfield, MO office, can ensure new growths are observed, monitored, and tested.

 

Skin Cancer Causes and Types

There are three types of skin cancer, but all are characterized by abnormal growths on or just below the skin. The most common skin cancers are:

  • Basal cell carcinoma – This type comprises 80-85% of all skin cancers. Basal cell carcinoma affects cells in the lowest layer of the epidermis and appears as a small bump that looks like a flesh-colored mole or pimple.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma – This accounts for 10% of all skin cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma affects cells in the middle layer of the epidermis and looks like a firm, red nodule, often with scaly crust.
  • Melanoma – While making up only 5% of all skin cancers, Melanoma is rare but very dangerous. It is the leading cause of death from skin cancer and appears as a dark growth with pigment spreading to the surrounding skin.

 

Most skin cancer treatments involve biopsy, surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and/or biological therapy. The skin cancer treatment your doctor recommends will depend on the size, depth, location, and type of lesion you have, as well as whether the cancer has spread.

Skin cancers vary in shape, color, size and texture, so any new, changed or otherwise suspicious growths or rashes should be examined immediately by a physician. Early intervention is essential to preventing the cancer from spreading.

 

When to See a Doctor for Skin Cancer

Only a doctor can recommend and administer skin cancer treatment, which means you will need to have abnormal growths reviewed by a dermatologist or other physician. If you notice a new or strange-looking growth and live in the St. Louis area, make an appointment at our Chesterfield office. Only a medical professional can determine whether the growth is benign or cancerous.

While doctors are necessary to treat skin cancer, they are also essential to its prevention. Scheduling an annual skin check is an effective method for catching skin cancer early in development. During this exam, a doctor will assess moles, growths, birthmarks, and other skin lesions. The doctor may also take photos of moles that look suspicious so they can be reevaluated at a later date. Regular skin checks are an important part of skin cancer treatment and prevention, so schedule one with us today.

While skin cancer is often treatable, it can only be addressed if checked by a dermatologist. If you notice a new or strange-looking growth, make an appointment at our Chesterfield office today. A quick and noninvasive exam is often enough to give you peace of mind.

 

Contact us to schedule an appointment or virtual visit today.

 

*Results may vary per patient.