Skin Cancer Treatment in Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr, and Newtown Square
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, affecting more people in the United States than all other cancers combined. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation :
- More than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed annually.
- Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either basal cell or squamous cell cancer at least once.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
- On average, one person dies of melanoma every hour.
- In 2014, it is estimated that approximately 10,000 deaths will be attributed to melanoma.
- By 2015, it is estimated that one in 50 Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime.
While skin cancer is exceedingly common, the good news is that it is curable with early detection and treatment. Early detection at Bryn Mawr Skin & Cancer Institute in Philadelphia can greatly increase the effectiveness of skin cancer treatment.
What Is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is a cancer that starts in your skin's top layer, or epidermis. The epidermis contains three main types of cells: squamous cells, basal cells, and melanocytes. Where your skin cancer begins determines both its type and your treatment options.
What Causes Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer occurs when errors, or mutations, occur in the DNA of skin cells causing the cells to multiply rapidly and form a tumor.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight and the lights used in tanning beds are responsible for much of this DNA damage. Other factors may include exposure to toxic substances or having a medical condition that weakens your immune system.
Common risk factors for skin cancer are:
- Fair skin.
- A history of sunburns.
- Excessive sun exposure.
- Sunny or high-altitude climates.
- Numerous moles.
- Precancerous skin lesions.
- A family history of skin cancer.
- A personal history of skin cancer.
- A weakened immune system.
- Exposure to radiation.
- Exposure to toxic substances.
What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?
There are three major types of skin cancer—basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Of these, basal and squamous cell cancers are the most common.
Basal Cell Cancer
Basal cell cancer is primarily found on parts of the body exposed to the sun, such as the head and neck. The development of basal cell carcinoma is strongly linked to UV exposure. While rarely fatal, basal cell carcinoma can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow. Basal cell carcinoma rarely metastasizes to other areas of the body. However, if left untreated metastasis is possible.
Basal cell cancer typically appears as:
- A pearly or waxy bump.
- A flat, flesh-colored "scar-like" lesion.
Squamous Cell Cancer
Like basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer typically occurs on sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your face, ears, neck, and hands. Caught early, it is almost always curable with skin cancer surgery. Squamous cell cancer has the ability to metastasize to other areas of the body if left untreated. Patients with compromised immune systems are more likely to develop squamous cell cancers.
Squamous cell cancer may appear as:
- A firm, red nodule.
- A flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface.
meet our physicians
Cirillo Institute is the most credentialed and most comprehensive skincare, plastic surgery, and aesthetic dermatology center in Philadelphia. Our practices combine state-of-the-art treatments with the expertise of certified dermatologists and other professionals to address all medical,pediatric, and cosmetic needs......READ MORE.....
Accounting for less than two percent of skin cancer cases, melanoma is the third most common form of skin cancer. It is also the most serious. The vast majority of skin cancer deaths arise from melanoma. On average, one person dies of melanoma every hour. In 2014, it is estimated that approximately 10,000 deaths will be attributed to melanoma.
Melanomas can occur anywhere on the body. People with darker skin types tend to develop melanoma on the palms or soles, or under the fingernails or toenails. Like basal cell and squamous cell cancers, melanoma is almost always curable with early detection and treatment. Left undetected and untreated, melanoma is much more likely to metastasize to other parts of the body, where it can be very difficult to treat.
Melanoma may appear as:
- A large brownish spot with darker speckles.
- A mole that changes in color, size, or feel or that bleeds.
- A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, white, blue, or blue-black.
- Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips, or toes, or on mucous membranes lining your mouth, nose, vagina, or anus.
Remember the "A, B, C, D, Es" for melanoma detection:
- Asymmetry of the lesion.
- Border irregularity of the lesion.
- Color variation of the lesion.
- Diameter typically larger than a pencil head eraser (6 mm).
- Evolving change in an existing lesion.
How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed?
To check for skin cancer, your dermatologist will perform a thorough examination of your skin for changes that are likely to be cancerous or pre-cancerous. A detailed personal and family history of skin cancer will be obtained and reviewed. Regular skin exams are your best option for detecting and treating skin cancer at its earliest stages.
If suspicious lesions are found on examination, a biopsy will be taken for pathology testing. Once your dermatologist reviews the pathology report, the best treatment options will be discussed with you.
What Are My Skin Cancer Treatment Options?
Philadelphia's Bryn Mawr Skin & Cancer Institute offers the safest and most advanced skin cancer treatments currently available. These include:
- Mohs surgery.
- Excisional surgery.
- Prescription topical medications.
If you think you have skin cancer, visit your dermatologist. Early intervention is the key to successful skin cancer treatment.