Skin cancer can appear in multiple ways, including:
* Actinic Keratosis (AK): Known as a precancer with a crusty scaly growth
* Basal cell: Most common skin cancer, develops on skin that gets sun exposure
* Squamous cell: Second most common, red scaly patches that may bleed
* Melanoma: Irregular moles, or brown skin spots can become life threatening
Different types of skin cancer cause different symptoms. Basal cell carcinoma typically appears as a flesh-colored bump or a pink patch of skin. Squamous cell carcinoma appears as a scaly patch of skin, a sore that re-opens repeatedly, or a red firm bump. Melanoma may appear as a new dark spot on the skin, or it may develop from an existing mole. Patients can recognize melanoma early by looking for any moles that seem to be changing in appearance.
Actinic keratoses develop most commonly in places that receive a lot of sun exposure. It appears as dry, scaly patches of skin that don’t go away. Because actinic keratoses can become cancerous later, prompt treatment is necessary.
Dr. Bruell may suspect skin cancer after inspecting the patient’s skin. However, to confirm the diagnosis of skin cancer, Dr. Bruell will perform a biopsy of the lesion, which involves taking a small sample of tissue.
In many cases, the only treatment required for skin cancer will be the removal of the lesion itself and some surrounding tissue. However, if skin cancer is more advanced when it’s discovered, other treatments may also be necessary. Other treatments doctors may recommend for advanced skin cancer include radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.
Dr. Bruell will use an anesthetic to ensure that patients don’t feel pain during skin cancer surgery. Patients may feel some discomfort after the procedure, but they can use over-the-counter or prescription medications to control this pain.
If Dr. Bruell is able to remove all cancer cells during surgery, cancer is unlikely to return in the same spot. However, in some cases, cells may be left behind, which can lead to regrowth. In addition, patients who have skin cancer in one location may be more likely to develop it in other places as well. Patients with a history of skin cancer should watch for suspicious lesions and see their dermatologist regularly.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!