Skin Cancer Basics
With an annual diagnosis rate exceeding one million, skin cancer is the most prevalent of all forms of this disease. There is no one who is completely without risk for this condition. However, that risk increases with certain factors. Individuals who are prone to sunburn are thought to be genetically predisposed to skin cancer. Risk is also increased when exposure to UV rays is excessive. This can include natural sunlight as well as sun lamps in tanning beds.
There are often warning signs that skin cancer is developing. Pre-cancerous lesions called actinic keratoses often develop on sun-exposed areas such as the ears, scalp, nose, hands, arms, chest, neck, or face. Obtaining treatment for suspicious growths can save you from a more serious skin cancer diagnosis.
Skin Cancer Treatment
Several methods of treatment for skin cancer now exist. The method chosen by your dermatologist will depend on several factors. One way that a pre-cancerous lesion may be treated in a dermatology practice is to freeze it with liquid nitrogen. This procedure is call cryotherapy. Topical medication may be prescribed to destroy abnormal cells.
Another common method of removing basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers as well as other growths is electrodesiccation and curettage. This straightforward surgical procedure is performed with local anesthetic. Using a curette, the surgeon scrapes abnormal cells away until healthy tissue is reached. The area is then treated with electrosurgery (desiccation), which inhibits bleeding.
Skin Cancer Excision Treatment
For skin cancer that cannot be removed via freezing or electrodesiccation and curettage, a full skin excision may be necessary. The advantage of a full skin excision is that the success rate is very high. In addition, it allows an opportunity to examine the surrounding skin to make sure the cancerous skin was isolated to the single location.
Excision, like electrodessication and curettage, is performed with a local anesthetic. Incisions are made along a margin of healthy looking tissue. Small excisions may often be closed with stitches, while large excisions may require a skin graft. There is a high cure rate and scars are hardly noticeable in some cases.
Get skin cancer treatment in Austin
at 512-478-3376 to arrange an appointment to learn more about treatment for skin cancer
from your Austin dermatologist.