Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. In America, more than 5.4 million cases of basal and squamous cell carcinoma are reported annually. This condition occurs on your skin as a small bump and develops on your skin area exposed to the sun, such as your face, neck, chest, and hands. Visit your doctor at Metroderm DC: Medical, Laser, and Aesthetic Dermatology to get early medical intervention for skin cancer in Downtown DC and improve your health.
What causes skin cancer?
Skin cancer is a condition caused by the abnormal growth of skin cells. This may be caused by exposure of skin to sunlight. However, cancer may also develop on parts of your skin not exposed to the sun. There are three common types of skin cancer including:
- Basal cell carcinoma. This type of skin cancer often develops in skin areas exposed to the sun, such as your head and neck. Basal cell carcinoma may appear as a clear bump or a scabbing sore that occurs repeatedly. This cancer develops slowly and may spread to other regions in your body.
- Squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cells occur in your epidermis and are flat and scale-like. This condition mainly develops in areas exposed to the sun, such as your face, hands, and ears, and may appear as a firm, pink nodule or a lesion with a crusted surface.
- Melanoma. You can develop this type of cancer in any part of your body. Melanoma may occur on the face for men or on the lower leg for women and can be characterized by dark lesions on your soles, painful, itchy bumps, or a brown spot with dark speckles.
Apart from exposure to sunlight, other factors may increase your risk of developing skin cancer, including:
- Weak immune system. People living with HIV/AIDS or individuals under immunosuppressant drugs may easily develop skin cancer.
- Radiation exposure. Your chances of developing cancer are higher if you previously had radiation treatment for skin conditions like acne and eczema.
- Fair skin complexion. Ultraviolet rays from the sun may cause more damage to your skin when you have small amounts of melanin. This puts you at risk of developing skin cancer.
- History of skin cancer. You are more likely to develop cancer if your parent or a sibling had this condition.
Diagnosis and treatment for skin cancer
Before treatment, your doctor at Metroderm DC: Medical, Laser, and Aesthetic Dermatology Center will conduct a diagnosis by examining your skin. Further tests like skin biopsy may be used to determine the type of skin cancer you may have.
There are different treatment methods that your doctor may recommend based on your diagnosis, including:
Excisional surgery. During this procedure, your surgeon will cut out cancerous tissue and may remove the surrounding healthy skin.
Freezing. Your doctor may use liquid nitrogen, which provides low temperatures causing the cancerous lesion to die and fall off your skin.
Curettage and electrodesiccation. This treatment method is commonly used for basal cell cancer. During this process, your specialist may use a curet to scrape away skin layers affected with cancer and may use an electric needle to kill any cancer cells left.
Radiation therapy. Your specialist may use energy beams to kill cancer cells in your skin.
Early diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer increase your chances of a full and quick recovery. Reserve a session with your doctor at Metroderm DC: Medical, Laser, and Aesthetic Dermatology for evaluation to live a cancer-free life.