By Shady Grove Dermatology
July 07, 2020
Category: Skin Care
Tags: skin cancer  

Skin cancer affects more millions of Americans every year and people who have had skin cancer have a higher risk of developing new skin cancer, which is why regular self-examination and visiting your Rockville dermatologist at Shady Grove Dermatology is imperative.

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells and consist of three different types: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma: This is the most common form of skin cancer and is found in the deepest layer of the epidermis when a person is overexposed to UVB radiation. This type of skin cancer damages the body's natural repair system and metastasize (spread) slowly. Symptoms include: raised pink or pearly white bump with visible blood vessels, pigmented bumps that look like moles, sores that won't heal, and flat scaly scar with a waxy appearance. People at risk have fair skin, usually more sun exposure, older than 50, and are exposed to ultraviolet radiation (tanning beds). Diagnosis requires a biopsy and treatment methods include: Cryosurgery, Curettage and Desiccation, Mohs Micrographic Surgery, Prescription Medicated Creams, Radiation Therapy and Surgical Excision.
     
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This is found in the upper layer of the epidermis and looks like fish scales under a microscope. Squamous cell carcinoma develops on the scalp, face, ears and hands, but can also be found in the mouth or on genitalia. People at higher risk are usually fair-skinned, middle-aged and elderly people who have been exposed to the sun. You need a biopsy to test the dry scaly lesions to confirm it's cancer and treatment options are the same as the treatment options for basal cell carcinoma.
     
  • Melanoma: This is the least common type of skin cancer, but the most virulent in the bottom layer of the epidermis and affects younger people in their 20's. Melanoma appears as dark brown or black spots on the skin that spread rapidly to internal organs because of overexposure to the sun and family history. A biopsy confirms the illness and treatments include surgical removal, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Preventative Measures

As previously mentioned, you need to visit your Rockville dermatologist on a regular basis and complete a skin self-examination. Look for the following:

  • Large brown spots with darker speckles
  • Dark lesions
  • Translucent pearly and dome-shaped growths
  • Moles that grow, itch or bleed
  • Brown or black streaks under the nails
  • Sores that don't heal
  • Clusters of pink or red slow-growing scaly lesions

Skin cancer prevention also includes avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m; covering arms and legs with clothing; wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and using sunscreens year-round with an SPF of 15 or greater.

Need to contact your dermatologist?

If you are concerned about your risk for skin cancer, you should contact Shady Grove Dermatology in Rockville, MD, at (240) 246-7417 to schedule your next appointment.

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