Medical Dermatology > Skin Cancer
Skin Cancer Treatment
There are many different types of skin cancer. Many of them are related to sun exposure and the detrimental ultraviolet radiation it emits. Most forms of skin cancer are treatable if caught with early detection.
The most common type of skin cancer is called basal cell carcinoma. 80% are related to constant sun exposure. They are more prevalent on sun exposed areas, such as the face, neck and arms, but can develop anywhere. Lighter skin types are more prone to their development. They rarely spread to other parts of the body, though it has been reported.
Squamous cell carcinomas are the second most common type of skin cancer. These are also related to sun exposure, are more present on sun exposed areas and in lighter skin types. They tend to behave more aggressively than basal cell carcinomas, and have a higher incidence of spreading to other parts of the body (metastasis), though rarely do.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. It is the “dark mole” everyone worries about. There are several different forms of melanoma, all with a different prognosis. Generally, the deeper the lesion penetrates into the skin, the more serious the lesion, and the worse the prognosis. This cancer is much more apt to spread to other parts of the body. Fortunately, most melanomas have an extremely high cure rate if caught early and treated appropriately.
Different treatment options are available for skin cancer depending on the type of skin cancer, its location, and its severity. Physical removal through surgical techniques, such as excision, electrodessication, or Mohs micrographic surgery, are indicated for many lesions. Recent inventions have allowed physicians to offer non-surgical techniques for early cancers, such as topical creams (Imiquimod), and light therapies (photodynamic therapy).