What Are Signs of Skin Cancer?
Cancer. That’s one word nobody wants to hear. Though many advancements have been made in cancer research, the reality of cancer and its impact are still very real.
Skin cancer, or potential skin cancer, can be seen without testing, making it easier to detect. While someone with lung cancer won’t know their diagnosis without going through testing, someone with skin cancer can often see traces of the disease early on and can take action quickly.
As boring and uninspiring as it is to hear, the best defense against disease is preventative care. Being aware of your body and addressing any noticeable changes immediately is the best course in detecting any form of illness. In the case of skin cancer, if a portion of your skin that was smooth and clear of any moles suddenly develops an unusual growth, bump or sore that doesn’t go away, you know right then that you need to visit the doctor. It may not be painful, but if you notice a change in your skin and start to feel something, you may have something growing.
If you notice any difference in your skin (or your children’s skin), get it evaluated. If your symptoms are precancerous, Warner Family Practice offers treatments that can prevent it from developing into skin cancer. If it does become skin cancer, it will require tissue removal.
Any type of cancer is uncontrolled cell growth. When there is damage to DNA and tissue, it becomes more difficult to stop the growth of cancer cells. The more damage you do to the DNA in your skin via sun exposure, the greater the risk of getting skin cancer.
What Happens If You Have Skin Cancer
When you come in to have your skin issue looked at by one of our providers, your skin will be examined for any lesions that indicate whether we are dealing with actinic keratosis or a fully diagnosable case of skin cancer. If detected early, there is a good chance we can catch your condition in the precancerous stage and begin a treatment that will take care of the issue before it becomes more serious. This is the best case scenario.
If the affected area is questionable or highly suspicious for cancer, we will do a biopsy. Usually a biopsy will involve numbing the area and shaving off a layer of skin to send for evaluation. After receiving the biopsy results, you will meet again with your provider to determine a course of treatment.
What Are The Different Kinds of Skin Cancer
Just like there are many types of cancer, there are many types of skin cancer.
Actinic Keratosis is precancerous skin changes, sometimes called solar keratosis. This is when you have reddening or irritation of the skin, as opposed to discrete lesions that have borders that may or may not be defined.
Basal Cell Skin Cancers
Basal cell skin cancers are the least likely to metastasize. Metastasize means that the cancer has spread to other sites or organs in the body.
Squamous Cell Skin Cancers
Squamous cell skin cancers impact different cells in the skin. There is an increased risk of metastasizing, and they have the potential to be fatal. These types of skin cancers have lesions that are reddish and are often slightly raised. They can be difficult to differentiate for the layperson and trained clinicians, but they will look bad enough for a biopsy to be recommended.
One of the the worst skin cancers is melanoma. Melan are the pigment-producing cells in the skin and they tend to be black or brown. There are atypical moles that, due to damage, become melanoma. Melanoma can also grow where there has never been a mole. These can be caused by sun damage, and sun damage increases the risk of all types of skin cancer.
If you have a suspicious looking mole, a biopsy is performed to see if it is a candidate for melanoma. Moles that change are always a concern.
Noticing Changes In Your Skin
Skin cancer may sound scary, but when caught early it can be treated. For this reason you should always be on the lookout for changes in your skin color or texture. Any notable change is a sign to immediately schedule a visit with your provider.
Our providers at Warner Family Practice are all equipped and trained to help assess your skin’s current health and treat whatever current conditions you may be experiencing. Living in Chandler, right in the middle of the desert, we treat patients regularly for nearly every type of skin concern, be it precancerous or full-blown skin cancer.
Practicing preventative care is always our preference. When the need for treatment arises, our facility is prepared with the staff and technology to begin the process of restoring your skin and your health so you can continue to live a long and healthy life.
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