Dermatology Specialists of Gainesville
Dermatologists located in Newberry, FL & Chiefland, FL
A diagnosis of skin cancer can be stressful, but it’s helpful to know there are numerous treatment options available. Dr. Christina Mitchell of Dermatology Specialists of Gainesville in Newberry, Florida, offers numerous treatment paths that can address various types of skin cancer and preserve your overall health and wellness. Book a visit today to explore the possibilities. You can schedule online or over the phone.
Skin Cancer Q & A
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer occurs when your body produces an abnormal and uncontrollable volume of new skin cells. There are various types of skin cancer, all of which originate in the skin.
Basal and squamous cell cancers
These account for most cases of skin cancer and are directly tied to your sun exposure. They are unlikely to spread to other areas of your body and tend to respond well to treatment. Left untreated these types of cancer can cause serious and even fatal outcomes.
These types of cancers develop from your melanocytes, which are the cells that give your skin its distinct color. Melanoma is highly curable when caught in the early stages but can spread to other areas of your body if left untreated.
Other types of skin cancers
A group of less common skin cancers accounts for less than 1% of all cases. While rare, these cancers require a different treatment path than the basal cell, squamous cell, or melanoma cancers.
Detecting cancer in the early stages is critical to achieving a favorable treatment outcome. Knowing what to look for can help you decide when to come in for a diagnostic exam.
What are the symptoms of skin cancer?
Various types of skin cancer can create different symptoms, which is why it’s important to perform routine skin checks to look for changes or abnormalities. Some signs of skin cancer include:
- A flat scar-like lesion that is brown or the same color as your skin
- A sore that bleeds or scabs over and returns
- Pearly or waxy bumps
- A flat lesion with a scaly surface
- A firm, red bump
- A large brown spot with darker flecks
- Dark lesions in areas not usually exposed to the sun, including in your nose, mouth, vagina, or anus
One of the most common signs of skin cancer is a mole that is large, has irregular borders, or changes size or shape.
How is skin cancer treated?
Your treatment plan depends on the type of skin cancer you have and how far it has advanced. One treatment that can help is called blue light therapy, or photodynamic therapy.
The process works by introducing a special drug into your system that is absorbed by cancer cells. Once that process takes place a blue light is directed at your skin.
When the blue light hits the photosensitizing agent in your skin it creates a reaction, releasing activated oxygen molecules that destroy abnormal cells. Even cancer cells that are not visible are eliminated, which helps prevent cancer from spreading.
This approach is limited by the light’s ability to penetrate your skin. It isn’t the best option for larger cancers or cells that have spread deeper into your body.
If you’d like to learn more about diagnostics and treatment for skin cancer, schedule an appointment online or by phone today.