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Each year in the United States, millions of people are diagnosed with skin cancer. Melanoma is universally known as the most fatal form of skin cancer, and those diagnosed follow-up promptly with their dermatologist to seek treatment. When it comes to non-melanoma skin cancers, however, many people do not take their diagnosis as seriously, often leading to delayed treatment. What should everyone know about non-melanoma skin cancers?
Although not necessarily fatal, non-melanoma skin cancers still require treatment. The other two most common forms of non-melanoma skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Over 2 million new cases of basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed each year. Although it grows slowly, basal cell carcinoma must be treated promptly to prevent it from metastasizing to skin tissue and bone. In addition, basal cell carcinoma can cause infection or disfigurement if left untreated. Squamous cell carcinomas are newly diagnosed in roughly 700,000 people each year. Besides the ability to destroy skin tissue and bone, squamous cell carcinoma can spread to the lymph nodes and other critical parts of the body. As with basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma can also lead to infection or disfigurement if ignored. Now that we know how serious all skin cancers can be, what treatments are available?
Many different skin cancer treatment methods currently exist; the most suitable treatment varies from person to person depending on their specific condition. Here are three of the most common skin cancer treatment options:
Curettage and electrodessication can treat small cases of basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma on the head and neck that have not yet spread beneath the surface of the skin. This procedure scrapes at the tumor with a surgical instrument known as a curette and then uses an electric needle to cauterize, or gently burn, additional cancerous cells and surrounding healthy tissue. This process may be repeated up to three times.
Mohs surgery is a common treatment option in which a Mohs surgeon carefully removes a layer of skin at a time to check for cancer cells under a microscope. Layers of skin are continuously removed until the Mohs surgeon no longer finds any skin cancer cells. Mohs surgery allows for the removal of skin cancer with minimal disruption to surrounding healthy tissue.
Local surgical excision is usually performed at the dermatologist’s office. After the skin has been numbed, the skin cancer is removed along with surrounding non-cancerous skin. The skin is removed to determine whether the skin cancer has been successfully removed; if skin cancer is still present, an additional procedure will be necessary.
The first step to detecting skin cancer at its earliest, most curable stage is to undergo regular skin cancer screenings by a board-certified dermatologist. Contact us today to schedule a skin cancer screening. At Advanced Dermatology, PC, our board-certified dermatologists are experts at diagnosing and treating skin cancer and other conditions of the hair, skin and nails. In the event of skin cancer, we offer the latest treatment methods, including Mohs surgery by our board-certified Mohs surgeons. Our conveniently located offices welcome patients from Queens (Bayside, Flushing), Long Island – Nassau/Suffolk (Roslyn Heights, West Islip, Commack, East Setauket), New York City (Upper West Side, Upper East Side), Brooklyn (Park Slope) Westchester County (Ossining, Briarcliff Manor), Bergen County, NJ, Union County, NJ, and all surrounding areas.