Skin Cancer

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. About 80% of all skin cancers are BCC. BCC are easily treated in their early stages. Although this type of skin cancer seldom spreads or metastasizes to vital organs, it can damage surrounding tissue. When small skin cancers are removed, the scars are usually cosmetically acceptable. If tumors are very large, a skin graft or flap may be used to repair the wound to achieve the best cosmetic result and allow for proper healing. BCC are easily removed during an office visit with Dr. Tabor. This is a minimally invasive procedure during which Dr. Tabor will likely excise the remaining cancer cells and close the skin with sutures.

Warning Signs of BCC:

  • A scar-like area that appears white, yellow, or waxy, and often has uneven borders.
  • An open sore that bleeds, oozes, or crusts.
  • A persistent, non-healing sore is a very common sign of an early BCC.
  • A shiny bump or nodule that is pearly or translucent and is often pink, red, or white. The bump can also be tan, black, or brown, especially in dark- haired people.
  • A pink growth with a slightly elevated rolled border and a crusted indentation in the center. Tiny blood vessels may develop on the surface.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. SCC is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. SCC often appear as scaly red patches, open sores, elevated growths with a centered indentation, or warts. These sites may also crust or bleed. SCC is mainly caused by UV exposure over the course of a lifetime. This type of skin cancer if allowed to grow can become deadly. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, an estimated 700,000 cases of SCC are diagnosed each year in the US, and up to 8,800 people died from the disease in the US in 2012. About 2 to 10 percent of these squamous cell carcinomas spread to the internal organs and are life-threatening. Most SCC is easily removed during an office visit with Dr. Tabor. This is a minimally invasive procedure during which Dr. Tabor will likely excise the remaining cancer cells and close the skin with sutures.

Warning Signs of SCC

  • A wart-like growth that crusts and occasionally bleeds.
  • A persistent scaly red patch with irregular borders that sometimes crusts or bleeds.
  • An elevated growth with a central depression that occasionally bleeds. These lesions may also grow very rapidly.
  • An open sore that bleeds and crusts and persists for weeks to months.

Malignant Melanoma (MM) is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. These cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells trigger mutations that lead the cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. These tumors are often caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sunshine or tanning beds. The majority of melanomas appear black or brown but can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue, or white. Melanoma kills an estimated 9,710 people in the US annually. If a melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is often curable. Untreated, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes more difficult to treat and can be fatal. The American Cancer Society estimates that at present, more than 120,000 new cases of Melanoma are diagnosed in the US each year. In 2014, an estimated 76,100 of these will be invasive melanomas, with about 43,890 in males and 32,210 in females.

Warning Signs of Melanoma – remember A-B-C-D-E:

  • Asymmetry – If you draw a line through the middle of the mole and the two halves do not match.
  • Border – The borders of an early melanoma appear uneven.
  • Color – Multiple colors is another warning sign. A number of different shades of brown, black, or tan could appear. A Melanoma may also appear red or blue.
  • Diameter – Melanomas are usually larger in diameter than the size of the eraser on a pencil, but may sometimes be smaller when first detected.
  • Evolving – Any change in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or any symptom such as bleeding, itching, or crusting points to danger.

Contact our dermatology office today to learn more about different skin cancer treatment options or to schedule your skin cancer screening.

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