Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United states–more than 3.5 million cases are diagnosed annually. One of every five Americans will experience skin cancer during his or her lifetime. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation causes genetic changes in skin DNA which results in uncontrolled growth of skin cells which can form scaly lesions called actinic keratosis which eventually can transform into tumors.
“Thank you so much for giving my 16 year old daughter a new lease on life! Your care provided her not only with much needed medical attention to her skin, but has boosted her confidence to a whole new level! Her skin looks amazing and we couldn’t be happier. We had been to many doctors prior to our referral to you. You and your staff have blessed our lives.” – Amy E.
How The Sun Sees You
While skin cancer is one of the easiest cancers to diagnose and treat, many patients don’t understand the importance of having regular screenings and examinations. You may not think much of a new growth on your skin and let it go for a while before having it checked. This is never a good idea. The earlier skin cancer is diagnosed, the less likely it will be to spread and become a major problem. Whenever you notice any changes in your skin, please visit Dr. Pierre for an examination.
Three categories of cancerous skin growths:
- The more commonly found type of growth is basal cell carcinomas (BCC). These are among the more treatable of the three types of growths. Comparable in appearances like that of rough patches of reddened skin, sores, bleeding pimples that look like bruises that don’t heal, a random scar, or pinkened, glossy bumps. BCCs are generally created from cumulative UV exposure. This type of growth is typically found on the shoulders, ears, back, neck, face, and scalp. BCC growths usually don’t spread to other parts of the body and are hardly life threatening.
- Squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) can resemble that of a wart, an open sore, or a rough patch of skin. Like BCC’s, SCC’s can also sprout from extensive UV exposure. Certain prescriptions, autoimmune illnesses, or skin injuries can provoke their growth. Those who have experienced SCC’s are typically adults over the age of 50 and people who have had a BCC in the past. Upon early detection and removal, SCCs can be treated. However, if left untreated, this cancerous growth can spread to other organs in the body and become dangerous. SCC’s have caused around 2,500 deaths each year in the U.S.
- One of the more dangerous cancerous skin growths is Melanoma. Melanoma can be singular or a series of malignant tumors that resemble the appearance of moles. They can change in color, shape, or size. In terms of color, they can appear red, purple, white, blue, pink, or the tone of your skin, but they are more typically black or brown. Melanomas are caused from severe UV exposure. However, other genetic and environmental causes can generate their development as well. Melanoma can easily spread to other parts of the body and causes around 9,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.
During an examination, Dr. Pierre may do a full body check as well as check out the area of concern. If it is believed that the skin growth is not just a standard mole or wart, then a biopsy may be done. A small portion of the growth is removed and sent to a laboratory for further investigation. The laboratory will be able to determine if there are cancerous or precancerous cells present. If this is the case, Dr. Pierre may recommend a variety of options to his patients. The most common treatment for skin cancer is surgical excision, which means removing the area of skin to eliminate the cancerous cells before they have the opportunity to spread. This is another reason why early detection is preferred. Depending on the location and size of the tumor and your health, Dr. Pierre may recommend seeing a specialist for Mohs micrographic surgery – a more precise method that spares surrounding tissues. In some cases, a referral to an oncologist for traditional radiation or chemotherapy is indicated, and reconstructive surgery may be necessary.
Dr. Peterson Pierre of Pierre Skin Care Institute has dedicated his practice to helping patients maintain healthy, beautiful skin. Don’t take chances with your skin and your health. If you have an unusual skin growth or changes in moles or freckles that are causing a concern, contact Pierre Skin Care Institute today to book an appointment with our board certified dermatologist. Our practice can be reached by calling 805.409.4560 and scheduling a visit for a thorough examination and consultation. Dr. Peterson Pierre and his team are here to help patients young and old in his state-of-the-art facility.