Understanding Skin Cancer: Types, Risks, Treatments, and Prevention

Cancer is becoming increasingly common in the United States. Estimates now suggest that one in two women and one in three men will experience cancer at some point in their lives. The most common type of cancer by far is skin cancer. The good news is that most skin cancerss are among the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer.

What Types of Skin Cancer Are There?

There are many types of skin cancer but the most common are Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), Merkel Cell Cancer (MCC), and Melanoma. Here is a breakdown of each type:

BCC affects the round cells of the same name that are found in the lower epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. 80% of this type of cancer forms from this cell. You will find it typically on the head or the neck, but it can be found anywhere on the body. Sun exposure is the primary cause of BCC. It usually grows slowly and does not usually spread to other parts of the body.

SCC Affecting the flat, scale-like cells found over most of the epidermis, this form of cancer is mostly caused by sun exposure. This means if can be found on nearly any part of the body that is commonly under the harsh rays of the sun. It can also form on skin that has been burned severely, damaged by chemicals, or exposed to x-rays. You can typically find it on the lips, areas that have been scarred for a long time, and on the skin around the mouth, anus, or woman’s vagina.

MCC is the most aggressive form and the fastest in spreading. It begins with the hormone production of cells just beneath the skin and in people’s hair. You can locate this type of cancer mostly around the head region and on the neck. I’s official name is Merkel Cell Cancer but Neuroendocrine Carcinoma is another name for MCC.

Melanoma forms where the epidermis meets the dermis, or the inner layer of the skin, in the cells called melanocytes. These cells are what produces the melanin pigment that colors the skin. Melanoma happens when these cells change and multiply out of control, forming into the cancerous cells. Of all the types of this cancer, this one is by far the most severe and serious one to have.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer?

Different types of skin cancer exhibit different signs or symptoms. However, they primarily form on the areas of the skin exposed to sunlight. Be sure to check yourself or have an expert do a thorough and intimate search for abnormalities. Pay close attention to the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms, and hands. Look for things such as lumps, bumps, sores, or other marks on the skin that are new or changing. Discuss any concerns you have with your doctor.

What is Mohs Surgery?

Depending on the type found, skin cancer excision may be an option. Mohs Surgery is a technique developed by Frederic E. Mohs, MD in the last 1930s. It is a skilled procedure that is used to carefully remove cancerous tissue from the first two layers of the skin. It also boasts a high healing rate with little to no scarring. This technique requires special training. Dr. Castrellón’s training in Mohs surgery combines with his plastic surgery expertise which emphasizes techniques that minimize scarring.

Can Skin Cancer Be Prevented?

The best kind of defense is a good offense. Make sure you take adequate precautions when in the sun to help prevent skin cancer. Wearing broad-spectrum SPF, hats and long sleeves, and avoiding the sun between 12:00pm – 2:00pm when it is at its strongest are some of the best ways to keep from having any of your cells turn cancerous. Limiting your time outside can help as well, but do not forget to take some time to enjoy the Vitamin D the sun does give.

Mohs Surgery in Miami, FL

Skin cancer is a scary subject but there are precautions you can take. The first is prevention, as above, but the second is to have regular visits to your dermatologist to check for abnormal skin and tissue. Early detection truly saves lives.

If you or a loved one are seeking skin cancer excision via Mohs Surgery, get in touch today to schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Castrellón.

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