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        More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all other cancers combined. Approximately 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Fortunately, skin cancer is highly treatable when caught early.

        The best defense against skin cancer is prevention. Regular use of sunscreens and protective clothing have been shown to effectively reduce skin cancer risk. Having a skin care professional perform a thorough and comprehensive skin examination at regular intervals is critical in identifying precancerous and cancerous lesions of the skin. Many times skin cancers are not obvious or bothersome and can grow without distinctive symptoms. Skin cancer screenings help to identify dangerous lesions and other risk factors associated with skin cancer.

        Skin cancer screenings include visual and physical evaluation of moles, skin lesions, and areas of the skin for atypia. If suspicious lesions are identified, they may be biopsied by your provider. If the lesions are cancerous, a number of treatments are available including traditional surgery, scraping and burning, cryosurgery, radiation, topical medications, and advanced Mohs micrographic surgery. Our providers at Ada Dermatology will go over your treatment options in detail and recommend the treatment best for your case.

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        What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?

        Skin cancer can look very different from person to person. This makes it hard to look at a picture and tell if you have skin cancer. At Ada Dermatology, our providers are highly trained to examine skin for signs of pre-malignant and malignant lesions. You should see a dermatologist right away for a skin cancer check if you see a growth on your skin that lasts for two weeks or longer and is:

        • Growing
        • Changing Shape
        • Bleeding and/or Itching

        Types of Skin Cancer and Treatment Options

        Actinic Keratosis
        Actinic keratoses are precancerous lesions. They typically present as small rough, dry or scaly areas that are flat or slightly raised. Sometimes they may have a hard surface, like a wart, and they may itch. Color varies from pink to red or brown. Usually these patches appear on areas exposed to sunlight — face, ears, hands, neck, scalp, and forearms. They are easily treated with liquid nitrogen (freezing) or with topical chemotherapy creams. Occasionally patients may have too many AKs for adequate control with freezing. The next level of therapy includes topical treatment with 5-fluorouracil, imiquimod, or “blue Light” therapy. The regular treatment of AKs reduces one’s lifetime risk for developing basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer.

        Basal Cell Carcinoma
        Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common skin malignancy, with more than two million cases detected in the United States each year. Signs of basal cell carcinoma may include two or more of the following:

        • Open sore that fails to heal, bleeds, crusts, or oozes for several weeks
        • Shiny, translucent pearly white, pink or red bump
        • Raised reddish patch that crusts or itches
        • Pink growth with elevated border and crusted indented center
        • Scar-like white, yellow or waxy area with poorly defined border

        In most patients, basal cell carcinoma can be cured with a simple surgical excision or a local destruction technique known as curettage and electrodessication. Occasionally patients require Mohs surgery for very large tumors, tumors showing infiltrative and aggressive histology, recurrent tumors, or large tumors in sensitive anatomic areas such as the nose.

        Squamous Cell Carcinoma
        Squamous Cell Carcinoma affects 200,000 Americans annually. SCCs usually exhibit a thick surface scale although they can be ulcerated or even present with a “volcano-like” appearance. These tumors can show rapid growth, occasionally metastasize, and very rarely can be fatal. SCCs are most commonly seen on the face (especially lips and ears), scalp, hands, and legs. If diagnosed early a simple surgical excision is usually curative. SCCs can be very aggressive in organ transplant patients and others who take immunosuppressive medication.

        Melanoma (malignant moles) can spread to other parts of the body and be very deadly. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease. The key to melanoma survival is finding it early. When caught early the cure rate is nearly 100%. Treatment for melanoma usually consists of surgery. This includes excision or a technique called ‘slow mohs’. If caught later, treatment may include sentinel lymph node biopsy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy.

        The ABCDE’s of melanoma are important criteria for people to use in evaluating their own skin.

        • A is for asymmetrical
        • B is for a border that is irregular or jagged
        • C is for uneven color
        • D is for diameter (larger than a pea)
        • E is for evolving (changing over a period of days or weeks)

        Other Types of Skin Cancer:

        • Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma
        • Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans (DFSP)
        • Merkel Cell Carcinoma
        • Sebaceous Carcinoma

        Surgical Dermatology Services:

        At Ada Dermatology we treat all types of skin cancer. Treatment is based on tumor type, size, location and other patient-related health factors. After a thorough consultation with you and your loved ones, we will work together to form an individualized treatment plan that is best for your case.

        • Biopsy of suspicious skin lesions
        • Removal of precancerous growths (actinic keratoses)
        • Surgical removal of skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma
        • Removal of benign lesions such as moles, skin tags, seborrheic keratoses, warts, lipomas and cysts

        Non-Surgical Options:
        Our dermatology providers are also specialists in the use of non-surgical treatment options for certain precancerous lesions and skin cancers when medically appropriate.