Skin Cancer and Skin Cancer Screenings
The abnormal and uncontrolled growth of skin cells is referred to as Skin Cancer. Skin Cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, affecting close to one in five Americans in their lifetimes. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that nearly 8,500 people get diagnosed with the disease every day. If left untreated, skin cancer could become life threatening.
Fortunately, there are a myriad of treatment options available ranging from scraping and burning, freezing, radiation, excision, to Mohs surgery, an advanced surgical technique performed by Doctor Omar Torres.
Regardless of the treatment of choice, it is vital that you are aware of the benefits and drawbacks of each, and that you choose the treatment that will remove all the cancer, minimize the risk of recurrence, and leave as little scarring as possible.
Non-melanoma cancers such as squamous cell cancer and basal cell cancers are easier to treat because they tend to remain in one area on your body and respond well to excision, freezing or other types of immediate removal. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma, usually appears as a small, fleshy bump or nodule on the head, neck, or hands. Occasionally, these nodules appear on the trunk of the body, usually as flat growths.
In the case of Malignant Melanoma which is less common than basal and squamous cell cancer but it is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. The cancerous growth leads the skin cells to multiply quickly and form malignant tumors. Melanomas often resemble moles and some melanoma develops from moles. Melanoma is a serious disease that requires early diagnosis and treatment.
There are many factors that play a key role in the risk assessment of skin cancer such as family history of melanoma, regular sun exposure, being over 40 years old, and fair skin, among others. Skin cancer may vary in shape, texture, color, or size and early detection can prevent it from spreading.
The earlier skin cancer is discovered, like many other forms of cancer, the better chance you have of beating it. Regular check-ups with our Dermatology experts practicing self-checks on your skin and not ignoring unusual spots or growths on your body will help of Doctor Omar Torres and his team of dermatology specialists at DermgroupNYC you could get ahead of this disease.
MOHS Micrographic Surgery
Mohs Surgery is a state-of-the-art treatment for skin cancer in which the physician serves as surgeon, pathologist, and reconstructive surgeon. It relies on the precision and accuracy of a microscope to trace and ensure the removal of skin cancer, down to its roots. Mohs allows the Dermatologic Surgeon to precisely identify and remove the entire tumor.
Dr. Torres, who holds a 2-year fellowship on Mohs surgery, has extensive knowledge of the skin and its healing properties and will strive to attain the best cosmetic result possible.
Of all treatments for skin cancer, Mohs surgery has proven to offer a 99% cure rate. In addition, it has the lowest chance of regrowth, minimizes the potential for scarring or disfigurement. Mohs micrographic surgery is effective for most types of skin cancer, but is most commonly used to treat basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Mohs micrographic surgery is performed in our office under local anesthesia.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most common skin concerns?
The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (both are often grouped in nonmelanoma skin cancers) and melanoma.
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is usually found on the sun-exposed areas of the skin, such as the face, scalp, ears, arms and torso. It rarely spreads to other parts of the body, but can be locally destructive. BCCs are the most common form of skin cancer, with more than a million new cases diagnosed in this country each year.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) begins in the uppermost layers of the skin and is most commonly a result of lifelong sun exposure. A small percentage of SCCs have the potential to spread to other areas of the body. SCCs are the second most common skin cancer, with hundreds of thousands of new cases diagnosed in this country each year.
- Melanoma develops in the cells that make pigment in the skin. It is the most serious type of skin cancer. Melanoma can spread quickly through lymph nodes to the internal organs. But when it is diagnosed and treated early it has a high cure rate. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for adults between 25-29 years old. According to the
- American Cancer Society, approximately 91,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in the United States each year.
What are the treatments for skin cancer?
Nonmelanoma skin cancers are some of the most treatable cancers. When melanoma is caught and treated early (before it spreads to the lymph nodes), it is also highly curable. The goal of treatment for skin cancer is to remove, or excise, all of the cancer. Typically, the first line therapies are surgical. Non-surgical treatments may be an option in some cases.
The type of surgical treatment used depends on the type, size, depth and location of the tumor. In most cases, the procedure is done on an outpatient basis. The most common surgical procedures to remove cancerous areas of the skin are:
- Mohs micrographic surgery: A “stepwise” excision performed by a dermatologist with special training in the procedure. Thin layers of skin are removed in stages and examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells. The process is repeated until no cancer cells remain. Mohs is used for certain types of skin cancer on the head, neck, feet and genitalia. It offers the highest cure rates (up to 99 percent for certain skin cancers) and leads to the best possible cosmetic result.
- Standard excision: The skin cancer is excised along with a standard amount of normal-appearing skin. This may be used for melanoma and small nonmelanoma skin cancers on the torso and extremities.
- Curettage and electrodessication: Involves the scraping the cancerous growth with a curette and cauterizing the area to destroy residual tumor and to control bleeding. This may be effective for a subtype of basal cell carcinoma and very early squamous cell carcinoma.
Radiation, chemotherapy or immunotherapy may be necessary for advanced cases of skin cancer or when patients are unable to have surgery. Learn more about treatment for melanoma skin cancers.
What can we do to protect ourselves from the sun?
Sun exposure can damage your skin during any season, but summer rays are more harmful and can raise the risk of developing skin cancer. Tips for smart sun care include:
- Use sunscreen daily. Look for a “broad spectrum” sunscreen that protects against both UVB light and UVA rays.
- Opt for water-resistant products with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 on an average day, whether bright or cloudy. Choose a higher SPF for outdoor activities, especially swimming and exercise.
- Apply sunscreen liberally and reapply at least every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Wear sunglasses, use SPF 15-30 lip balm and reapply often.
- Wear sun-protective clothing.
- Minimize sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Seek shade.
- Avoid tanning bed use.
- See your dermatologist for a yearly skin exam.
We Can Help You
Call us to schedule your appointment today at (212) 673-5633 or visit us at one of our conveniently located New York offices to learn more about our extensive line of cosmetic dermatology procedures and how they could transform your appearance.