Skin cancer is a potentially deadly disease affecting more Americans than any other cancer. At Cleaver Medical Group Dermatology in Cumming, Dawsonville, Dahlonega, Johns Creek, Toccoa, and Canton, Georgia, the dermatologists provide comprehensive care to diagnose, treat, and prevent skin cancer. Call Cleaver Medical Group Dermatology today or schedule an appointment online to learn more.
Skin cancer is a disorder that starts in the epidermis, the skin’s outermost layer. When cancer cells multiply, they invade deeper layers of the skin, the dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. They can metastasize (spread) to other areas of the body.
The three main kinds of skin cancer are:
Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, develops in sun-exposed areas of the skin. The most common skin cancer, BCC results from abnormal growth of basal cells. This slow-growing cancer is not metastatic, meaning it doesn’t spread to other areas of your body. However, it can damage your skin.
Early intervention is the best method to remove BCC before penetrating your skin’s deeper layers. BCC typically appears as an open sore that doesn’t heal, a small, red bump, or a flat, white scar.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common skin cancer. It usually appears as a flat, scaly sore, a raised patch of red skin, or a firm bump. Though SCC is rarely life-threatening, it can spread to other areas of the body. SCC tumors are often aggressive and can damage your skin and internal tissues.
Melanoma is the most life-threatening form of skin cancer. It develops in the melanocytes, the cells producing melanin, the skin’s natural pigment. Most melanomas begin as moles. Any mole that darkens, changes its size or shape, or develops abnormal borders can be melanoma. Treating melanoma before it spreads is critical to protect your health.
The most common cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Spending time outside without sunscreen or using tanning beds are two major risk factors for skin cancer. Other common risk factors include:
Precancerous lesions, like actinic keratosis, also raise your risk of developing skin cancer.
Your dermatologist at Cleaver Medical Group Dermatology performs a comprehensive skin cancer screening to diagnose skin cancer. Depending on which kind you have, they will recommend:
If you have malignant melanoma that has spread, your dermatologist will refer you to an oncologist for chemotherapy or radiation.
Call Cleaver Medical Group Dermatology today or schedule an appointment online to learn more.