What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer can manifest anywhere on your body. It is most likely to occur on skin that has had exposure to sunlight. The most common areas are the face, neck, hands, and arms. Skin cancer is divided up into three main different types; Basal Cell Carcinomas, Squamous Cell Carcinomas, and Melanomas. Every year over 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer. If you have a history of skin cancer in your family, you should visit a dermatologist yearly for an annual body exam. Our skin cancer experts are located in Bergen County, NJ, Queens, NY, Long Island, NY and other locations.
Types of Skin Cancer
Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type out of the three skin cancers. They originate from the deepest part of your epidermis (i.e. basal layer) and usually occur from overexposure to sun. They can be easily treated and are usually not life threatening.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma is another kind of skin cancer. These show up on your top layer of skin and are commonly mistaken for sores. They might appear as sores on your skin, but ones that do not go away. They can be caused by overexposure to the sun and while usually not life threatening do kill about 3,000 a year.
Melanoma is a life-threatening skin cancer. It usually starts in the melonomyte layer of skin but they can in rare advanced stages even affect your organs. About 8,000 people die each year in the U.S. from Melanoma. If caught early it can be treated and cured. You should do self examinations of your own body for any irregularities that might be precursors to melanoma. Follow the ABCDE rule (Asymmetry, Border Irregularity, Color, Diameter, and Evolving characteristics) usually found with moles to detect if anything seems out of place. See the illustrations below to learn how to check for skin cancer.
Skin Cancer may be discovered early on while still a benign precancer. One pre-cancer is known as Actinic keratosis. This shows up as scaly, crusty, small bumps that can be found on or underneath the skin. Tumors, lesions, and odd discolored skin can be indicators of pre-cancer and you should be on the lookout for these warning signs.
The reason pre-cancer is important to find and treat is that in these areas though harmless now may turn into skin cancer, even malignant skin cancer. These areas are able to be seen and felt and are noticeable.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) estimates that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their life. About 75% of skin cancer deaths occur from melanoma.
How We Can Help You
We believe in empowering our patients with the tools they need to overcome cancer. We will develop a personal and individualized cancer treatment program that will be the most effective for your specific case. Our expert dermatologists have the experience, expertise and knowledge to effectively treat malignant and non-malignant skin cancers. In addition we offer yearly free skin cancer screenings at designated locations. There are several treatments that can be used for skin cancer. They are: Superficial Radiotherapy, Freezing, X-ray, Scraping, Excising, Laser, and Mohs, where Mohs is the most effective method. Our offices across Queens, NY, Bergen County, NJ, and elsewhere will help you in determining if you have any symptoms.
Also called cryosurgery. This procedure utilizes liquid nitrogen, a very cold gas, at a temperature of -50°C or (-58°F) to freeze off the skin cancer lesion. If you have a bleeding disorder, or if you do not want a different procedure, freezing is the treatment for you. It is more likely though, to reoccur after this technique.
Also called Radiotherapy or radiation therapy, this type of treatment directs a dose of radiation at the target area. The radiation energy emitted, damages and destroys the cancer cells. The radiation does not distinguish between healthy or harmful cells, but destroys them all. This is sometimes uses to remove internal cancers. Most patients don’t like this therapy as it can take 20 to 30 treatments.
Also called curettage. This process involves using a spoon shaped tool to scrape away the skin removing the cancer cells. The scraped skin may bleed and is many times used with electrosurgery in order to control any bleeding that might occur. This procedure is only for separated cancer.
This is a small minor surgery. During this procedure, the area of skin cancer is cut out, along with a margin of healthy skin surrounding it. This margin area is then examined to see if all of the skin cancer has been removed. After an excision, stitches may be needed to close it up.
Laser therapy uses lasers on the target area and focuses a beam of light to remove the skin cancer. Laser therapy is mainly used to treat cancer on the surface of the skin, and for some internal organs. This procedure can not tell if the cancer is completely out.
This is called micrographic surgery. It is the most effective method to remove skin cancer. Mohs surgery is a process where each layer of the cancer is removed and examined then to see if it was all removed. It is commonly used for sensitive areas such as the face. (Click here for more info on Mohs)
Skin Cancer Radiotherapy
Skin Cancer Radiotherapy treats non-melanoma skin cancers found on the surface of the skin. Using a technology called Superficial Radiotherapy (SRT), lesions on the chest, back, arms, and legs can be effectively treated. SRT is especially useful for difficult to treat skin cancers located on the head and neck regions including the nose, ears, eyelids, lips, and scalp, where surgical excision may leave cosmetically undesirable results. SRT is also a great treatment option for patients considered too high risk for surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am concerned about a birthmark, what should I do?
If you are concerned about a mole or birthmark on your body, it is advisable to see a doctor. Melanoma can grow and spread quickly. That is why it is important not to wait to have a spot checked. The ABCDE method is often used to recognize a melanoma. Check the spot for Asymmetry, Borders, Color, Diameter and Evolution. Changing spots are always suspicious. Advanced Dermatology offers yearly free skin cancer screenings. You can find our expert dermatologists in Queens, Bergen County, NJ, Long Island, NYC, and elsewhere in New York and New Jersey.
How does skin cancer develop?
Most forms of skin cancer arise due to an overload of ultra violet (UV) radiation from the sun or a sunbed. The UV radiation causes damage to the genetic material (DNA) of the skin cells. In most cases, these damaged cells are cleaned out by the body’s immune system. However, if there are too many damaged cells, some derailed cells escape the immune system. These cells can grow into skin cancer. In addition, there are some rare forms of skin cancer caused by, for example, the derailment of white blood cells in the skin (lymphomas), the derailment of connective tissue cells (sarcomas) or if there is an inherited predisposition.
Does skin cancer spread to other places in the body?
This depends on the type of skin cancer. Melanomas are the most aggressive type of skin tumors. They can spread and it is therefore important that this form of skin cancer is diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. A squamous cell carcinoma can also spread. This means the sooner it is recognized and treated, the smaller the risk of metastases. Basal cell carcinomas generally do not spread and grow slowly, but they can cause a lot of damage locally. Advanced Dermatology offers yearly free skin cancer screenings at their numerous offices located in Queens, Long Island, NYC, Bergen County, NJ, and elsewhere across New York and New Jersey.