Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S. Skin cancer usually develops when DNA becomes damaged from repeated exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.
Cancerous changes are abnormal new growths or changes to existing marks or moles. Cancerous spots may be lumps, spots, scaly lesions, or new moles.
If you have noticed a change in your skin, be sure to have it checked by a dermatologist who is ideally also a skin cancer surgeon. Let’s talk about what a skin cancer doctor looks for, and where you can go in Miami to see a Mohs surgeon who can take care of everything on your skin.
How a Dermatologist Checks for Skin Cancer
A dermatologist can usually identify spots that are likely to be skin cancer just by looking at them. The doctor will then take a closer look at the cancerous spot using a special magnifying lens:
- Basal cell carcinoma usually appears as a sore that won’t heal, or a brown, black, or blue lesion. This is the most common and least severe form of skin cancer.
- Squamous cell carcinoma usually appears as a red sore, skin ulcer, firm nodule, or scaly patch.
- Melanoma usually appears as new pigmented growths or changes to existing moles, and the discoloration usually forms an unusual shape. This type of skin cancer is most likely to be fatal if not treated early.
The skin cancer surgeon or dermatologist will then take a tissue sample (biopsy) and send it to the laboratory to be evaluated. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma rarely spread and are superficial, and they can almost always be removed entirely in the doctor’s office with a biopsy alone.
How a Mohs Surgeon Removes Skin Cancer
Melanoma can be treated fully through Mohs surgery if it is caught early. What happens in Mohs surgery is that the dermatologist essentially shaves off the topmost portion of the mark in question, puts the tiny section of tissue under a microscope to check it for cancer cells, and then goes back and shaves off another thin layer of skin and does the same thing – until there are no more cancer cells.
If the melanoma is more advanced and cannot be removed in this manner, the skin cancer surgeon will check the surrounding lymph nodes for cancer cells and order imaging tests – since this type of skin cancer is aggressive and spreads quickly – to determine how far cancer has spread (metastasized).
Mohs Surgeon Treating Skin Cancer in Coral Gables, FL
Dr. T.J. Giuffrida at the Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of skin cancer. If you are concerned about your skin or you have recently noticed changes to your skin, have Dr. Giuffrida perform a skin exam and possibly make recommendations for skin cancer treatment or prevention.
Dr. Giuffrida is also a Mohs surgeon, fellowship-trained in Mohs micrographic surgery. He provides compassionate, individualized care and treatment.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Giuffrida, call our Coral Gables dermatology office today at (305) 461-2000 or fill out our convenient appointment request form. We look forward to being your dermatology partner!