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One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetimes, but early detection combined with a yearly exam can save lives. Because the sun damage that causes skin cancer is cumulative, it is not only sun worshippers who are at risk but also people exposed to small amounts of sun casually over the years. In fact, just about everyone is at risk. And here in Florida, we get potentially dangerous sun exposure just going to and from the car day after day. People from Southwest Florida cities such as Siesta Key, Lakewood Ranch and Bradenton trust their skin cancer diagnosis and treatment to the knowledgeable providers at SkinSmart Dermatology® in Sarasota.
At SkinSmart Dermatology® we are dedicated to the health of your skin. To find out more about skin cancer, visit our office in Sarasota. Request a consultation with Dr. Elizabeth Callahan, Dr. William Adams or one of our experienced practitioners by calling our office in Sarasota at 941.308.7546.
Diagnosing Skin Cancer
Spotting a cancerous lesion can be difficult. Determining whether a lesion is cancerous is a job best left to our SkinSmart Dermatology providers. As the American Academy of Dermatology observes, even the same type of cancer can look different from person to person. That said, you should not wait to make an appointment with SkinSmart Dermatology if you see something on your skin that exhibits any of the following characteristics and doesn’t resolve itself within two weeks:
- Irregular colors
- Changing shape
If you have had skin cancer before, you are at higher risk for a recurrence, so our providers will most likely want to examine you more than once a year. The good news is that skin cancer, when detected and treated early, can be cured. Even melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, has a cure rate of almost 95% when it is caught early.
Skin Cancer Treatment
The first line of treatment for skin cancer is surgical removal of the cancerous or precancerous lesion. At SkinSmart Dermatology, we offer Mohs micrographic surgery, an advanced treatment for skin cancer. SkinSmart Dermatology has two fellowship trained Mohs Micrographic Skin Cancer Surgeons on staff. We are currently the ONLY practice from Tampa to Port Charlotte with TWO Mohs surgeons accredited by the American College of Mohs Surgeons on staff.
Mohs surgery offers the highest potential for recovery – up to 95%, even if other forms of treatment have failed. This procedure is the most exact and precise method of tumor removal. It minimizes the chance of regrowth and reduces the potential for scarring or disfigurement.
Types of Skin Cancer
There are three major types of skin cancer, and they affect different layers of the skin. They are named for the different types of skin cells that become cancerous.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell skin cancer occurs in the basal cell layer of the skin and is the most common type of skin cancer in people with fair skin. It commonly occurs on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun, such as the face. It rarely spreads to other parts of the body.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in the squamous cells, and is the most common type of skin cancer in people with dark skin, who typically get it in places, such as the legs or feet, that have not been exposed to the sun. In people with fair skin, it usually occurs in sun-exposed areas such as on the face, head, ears and neck. Squamous cell skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body.
Melanoma is the most aggressive type of cancer, and the most likely to spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma occurs in the melanocyte (pigment) cells of the skin, and can form on any part of the body, regardless of past sun exposure.
Treatments for skin cancer include:
- Mohs micrographic surgery
- Electrodessication and curettage
- Topical treatments such as imiquimod
Of course, surgical skill and experience are critical to a successful outcome. Dr. Callahan supervises all surgical procedures. As fellowship-trained Mohs skin cancer surgeons, Dr. Callahan and Dr. Adams have together performed more than 20,000 Mohs surgeries. Dr. Callahan is consistently recognized as a “Top Doctor” by Castle Connolly and was recently chosen again by her peers as a Top Doctor for 2015.