a melanoma skin cancer
Are you showing signs of skin cancer?
Persistent scabs, bleeding sores, “moles” that are flat or raised but with uneven borders may be signs of skin cancer. We recommend you have regular skin checks since skin cancer is very common. Not all skin cancers are fast growing. But even the slow ones like a BASAL CELL skin cancer can grow into an ear or an eye or invade the brain after many years of growth so it must be removed. SQUAMOUS CELL skin cancer has a little greater chance of spreading to other parts of the body (lungs, liver, brain) so it should not be left to develop.
The dangerous one is MELANOMA SKIN CANCER because it invades into other organs of the body much more quickly. If a sore bleeds, is ulcerating, has two different colors, has irregular margins or is enlarging, contact your dermatologist or plastic surgeon for an appointment for a biopsy. A biopsy is generally done under local anesthetic for a quick, painless procedure.
a melanoma skin cancer
Should you be concerned?
Some families are more prone genetically to developing skin cancer. The tendency to develop melanoma cancer, the most deadly type, might be passed down through family genes. Studies show that about 40% of the time, melanomas have an inherited basis and about 60% of the time there was no previously known melanoma in the family and cause appeared to be environmental. Lifestyle including sports in the sun, use of tanning beds, outdoor time in sunny locations or occupations where your body absorbs UV rays all day long may make a difference in developing skin cancers. Are you a truck driver where the sun shines through the window on your left hand all day as you drive? Are you a fisherman? Did you use tanning beds or have ultraviolet acne treatments as a teen?
Skin cancer can even strike young people. Depending on your day-to-day activities, your genetic history, even your appearance, you may be more likely to develop skin cancer, and should get in routines that protect yourself and your loved ones.
a melanoma skin cancer
What type of skin cancer do you have?
If you have talked to your doctor and have had a spot or spots tested, he or she will be able to inform you what type of skin cancer you have. The good news is some types of skin cancer are slow growing and are rarely fatal. Some types can be dealt with by a simple excision; however, the sooner the cancer is removed, the less tissue needs to be removed and repaired. Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are usually not -life threatening if spotted early. Treatment will vary, of course, depending on the strain of cancer and how far along it has progressed.
Will your skin be scarred after skin cancer removal?
Scarring will depend upon how much tissue has been affected by the cancer. In other words how wide and how deep must your plastic surgeon or MOHs surgeon go to remove all signs of the cancer and stop the growth of malignant cells. We always recommend you see a board certified plastic or facial plastic surgeon for the best result when tissue must be removed. Plastic surgeons are trained to move skin and muscle for the least amount of scarring and best aesthetic result.
Do you need to be nervous?
Your dermatologist is trained to determine why your skin may have a persistent rash or condition. If after a couple of months, a skin condition does not improve, go see your dermatologist. If you have ANY hesitation about the diagnosis or if a mole or blemish continues to grow after you have been told it is nothing, feel free to ask for a simple biopsy of the area. If you wish, go to another doctor for a second opinion or biopsy. Doctors do occasionally miss a diagnosis of skin cancer and you are the best person to take charge of your health.
Common sense protection
You can play a role in prevention. Do your best to protect yourself from UV radiation caused by sun (or tanning beds). For tanning there are many self-tanning products on the market today that give an even appearance and are easy to use. At Vero Cosmetic MediSpa we sell self-tanners like Fake Bake mousse with application gloves. We also offer medical grade sun block products containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that blend into the skin easily and offer complete UV production. If swimming or perspiring heavily, sun blocks may need to be reapplied after a few hours.
Wear sun block every day all year long. (Sun blocks and sun protection also keep you from getting age spots and wrinkles.) If you have had melanoma cancers in the past, it is CRUCIAL that you wear hats, long sleeves and protect your skin from UV rays since you are prone to this type of cancer. Remember concrete and water can reflect sunlight and UV rays even if you are standing in a shaded area and UV rays also penetrate glass windows.
Does your lifestyle put you at risk of skin cancer?
Being in the sun puts you at risk of developing skin cancer, no matter how long, or no matter how intense the sun may be. Of course, the chance of you developing anything cancerous with just a daily walk to the car is slim, but if you spend a lot of time outside, at the pool or beach, or tanning, you may be putting yourself at great risk. Also, some work conditions or chemicals you may be exposing yourself to could be putting you at risk.
What type of treatment should you seek?
Depending on the type of skin cancer, and how far along it has progressed, you have many forms of treatment your doctor or surgeon may discuss with you. If the cancer is not very far along, there are less invasive methods such as topical agents or non-surgical treatments. If the cancer is on the face or head, it is important to see a plastic surgeon or facial plastic surgeon for careful and complete removal with the least amount of deformity to the area. The sooner you have the malignant cells removed, the less invasive the removal site needs to be and the safer for other areas around the malignant site.