Diagnosis & Treatment of Skin Cancer and Precancers
Studies have said that over 70,000 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the year 2016. This number is high, and what becomes even more alarming is that this Melanoma only accounts for one percent of skin cancer forms. Of these 70,000 people who are diagnosed, roughly 10,000 people will die of this form of skin cancer.
At Azeal Dermatology Institute in Boulder, we understand how important it is to be aware of skin cancer and catch it early on, that’s why we offer a diagnosis of precancers and skin cancer as well as guidance with methods of treatments to suit your diagnosis.
What Happens During a Skin Diagnosis?
During your skin diagnosis, we will take a sample of your skin and place it in a formula that will help us determine if any infection is present. The sample will be taken from the general area or from the growth that may be causing concern, making the chances of detecting any infection or cancerous cells extremely straightforward.
What Happens After a Skin Diagnosis is Completed?
Depending on the diagnosis of your skin sample, we will proceed with the proper forms of treatment. If your sample shows signs of skin cancer, we will choose the treatment that is created specifically for your diagnosis and schedule a time to take care of it.
What to Look For
While every mole or spot is not going to be cancerous, it is important to keep an eye on your skin to look for changes or new growths. There are a few common things to look for that could be a sign of skin cancer.
It is important to be aware of any moles or growths that:
- Are new
- Have changed over time
There are many different types of skin cancer, each of which will have different signs to look for.
The different types of skin cancer include:
- Basal cell carcinoma: This type usually occurs in sun-exposed areas of the body. It may appear in pearly or waxy bumps, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesions that are flat, or bleeding or scabbing sores that heal and return.
- Melanoma: This type can develop anywhere on the body, including skin that hasn’t been exposed to the sun. Signs of melanoma include large brownish spots with dark speckles, moles that change color, size, or begin to bleed, lesions that itch or burn, and lesions with irregular borders and portions.
- Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin: This type occurs in sun-exposed areas. Signs include firm red nodules and flat lesions with a crusted and scaly surface.
- Nonmelanoma skin cancer: A few different skin cancers fall under this category and include a number of different signs.
If you notice any of these signs or have noticed other skin issues that you are unsure about, it is best to get them checked out to ensure that it is not cancerous.
The frequency at which you should get a skin cancer screening depends on a few things. While some doctors and dermatologist may suggest once a year, others suggest when you a change in a mole or one of the other symptoms. There are certain risk factors that may make you more likely to develop skin cancer at some point, which means you may want to get screened more often than others.
These risk factors include:
- Fair skin
- History of sunburns
- Excessive sun exposure
- Family history of skin cancer
- Sunny or high-altitude climates
- Use of tanning beds
- Have more than 50 moles
- Have irregular moles
These factors, are only a few that may increase your chances of getting skin cancer. Getting a precancer and skin cancer diagnosed early can make it easier for us to treat. If we do diagnose you with skin cancer, we will be able to help find the right treatment option for you. Our team will help you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
If there is any part of skin that you’re concerned about, don’t let it go unsettled. Schedule an appointment at Azeal Dermatology Institute in Boulder and let one of our knowledgeable dermatologists take a sample of your skin. The sooner that you determine whether or not the sample is concerning, the sooner you can schedule your treatment.