As per American Cancer Society data, skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed form of cancer in the United States. Any excessive growth of abnormal cells in the outermost layer of your skin is known as skin cancer. Usually, new skin cells form when cells grow old and die or become damaged. When this process fails, a fast growth of cells (some of which may be abnormal) occurs. This group of cells could be non-cancerous (benign), meaning they don't spread or harm you, or cancerous, meaning they can cause damage and spread to nearby tissue or other parts of your body, if not detected and treated early.
The main types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Most of these cancers can be treated effectively if they are detected early.
Squamous cell carcinoma is normally not life-threatening, but it can be aggressive. These are flat cells in the epidermi's middle and outer layer. They shed cells on a regular basis as new ones form. Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that can develop in these cells. Squamous cell cancers are also known by the term non-melanoma skin cancer.
These cells are found in the basal cell layer of the epidermis, which is located at the bottom of the epidermis. These cells divide often in order to replace the squamous cells that wear away at the skin's surface. These cells get thinner as they move up the epidermis, eventually becoming squamous cells. Most often this disease develops in areas of skin exposed to the sun, such as the face. Basal cell carcinoma is also known as non-melanoma skin cancer.
It is far less prevalent than other types, but it is much more likely to attack nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. These cells produce melanin, a brown pigment that gives the skin its tan or brown color. Melanin serves as the body's natural sunscreen, shielding the skin's deeper layers from the sun's detrimental effects. Melanoma is a type that begins in these cells. Melanoma can be fatal as compared to other types of skin cancers.
The basement membrane separates the epidermis from the deeper layers of skin. When the cancer progresses, it usually penetrates this barrier and spreads to the deeper layers of healthy skin cells.
It is most typically found is sun-exposed regions of the body, such as the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms, hands and legs in women. However, it can also occur in parts that are rarely exposed to the sun, such as your palms, under your fingernails or toenails, and your genital area. Symptoms of skin cancer include:
There are seven types of treatment for skin cancer prescribed by doctors.
Mohs surgery is a precise surgical technique used to treat skin cancer. Thin layers of cancer-containing cells are gradually removed and evaluated during Mohs surgery until only cancer-free tissue remains. Mohs micrographic surgery is another name for Mohs surgery.
When skin cancer is treated with radiation therapy, the radiation is targeted from outside the body onto the tumor. This surgery is usually undertaken with a low-energy x-ray beam (superficial radiation therapy) or electrons (electron beam radiation).
Chemotherapy (chemo) is a treatment that uses chemicals to kill cancerous cells. Usually, the medications are injected into a vein or given orally as a tablet. They pass freely through the bloodstream, attacking cancer cells that have already spread beyond the skin. After treatment, it is imperative that you remain in regular contact with your medical oncologists to track the progress of your treatment.
Photodynamic Therapy Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment that combines specific medications, sometimes known as photosensitizing agents, with light. The medications work only after they have been activated or "turned on" by certain types of light. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is also known as photoradiation therapy, phototherapy, or photochemotherapy.
Immunotherapy for skin cancer provides treatment options for patients with advanced levels of diseases. Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that uses the body's own immune system to help eliminate cancerous cells. For skin cancer treatment, there are now twelve FDA-approved immunotherapy treatments.
Targeted Therapy is a treatment option in which medications are used to target specific genes and proteins important in cancer cell growth and survival. Targeted therapy can alter the tissue microenvironment that aids the growth of cancerous cells and survival or target cancer-related cells such as blood vessel cells.
Chemical Peel Chemical peels are designed to treat actinic keratosis patients. Actinic keratosis is
a precancerous skin condition that, if left untreated, can progress to squamous
cell carcinoma. Chemical peels are however not appropriate for patients who
have warts on the face.
There are many other forms of drug therapy for skin cancer as well. Also, many new treatments are in clinical trials right now.
A visual examination is usually the first step in diagnosing skin cancer. If a suspicious spot is found, your doctor will first examine the area, noting its size, shape, color, and texture, as well as any bleeding or scaling. Your doctor may also perform a lymph node examination to detect whether any lymph nodes in the area are swollen. You may be referred to a skin cancer dermatologist by your primary care physician, who can perform more specialized testing and determine a diagnosis. The following are the two most common types of tests used in diagnosing this disease.
Your skin cancer doctor will numb the area before taking a tissue sample during this operation. There are many biopsy techniques, but an excisional biopsy, in which the skin cancer doctor eliminates the entire tumor, is often enough to treat this disease.
Most skin malignancies, particularly basal cell carcinoma, the
most prevalent type, remain isolated and do not spread to
other organs. However, melanoma skin cancer has a high
tendency to spread. If that's the case, one of several medical
imaging methods could be utilized to see if cancer cells have
spread to internal organs and bones. The following are
examples of imaging procedures:
These imaging treatments are painless and non-invasive. A more invasive biopsy may be performed if they indicate worrisome areas or metastases.
The skin cancer specialists at ACTC are dedicated to providing exceptional patient care - prescribing effective personalized treatment plans for their patients. We have some of the most experienced skin specialists in Florida working on our team. They strive to create a positive environment for patients and their family throughout their cancer journey.
The following are our providers who you can consult with at ACTC:
As one of Florida's leading advanced skin cancer centers, we understand how a cancer diagnosis and treatment impact a person's physical and emotional well- being. Therefore, we work hard to make patients and their families feel secure. We provide comprehensive treatment for all forms of skin cancer at ACTC, including screening, diagnosis, staging, treatment, and long-term follow-up, all in one convenient location. Our physicians are backed up by qualified clinical staff with over two decades of experience and a reputation for providing individualized treatment.
Schedule a consultation by calling352-345-4565
If a mole biopsy reveals that a patient has melanoma, his or her doctors must identify the degree of the disease and devise a treatment strategy based on how far the cancer has gone.
It depends on the type of skin cancer you have. For instance, melanoma can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms once it has metastasized or moved from the skin to another part of the body. These signs and symptoms will differ depending on how far the melanoma has gone. Melanoma that has spread to the brain, for example, might induce headaches and seizures. If melanoma has progressed to the lungs, chronic coughing and shortness of breath may occur.
Skin cancer on the scalp is a severe type of skin cancer because it can develop without being noticed and spread quickly owing to its proximity to an area with a lot of blood flow. The scalp should always be examined as part of a regular skin self-exam.