Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. One out of every five people aged 70 in the United States will experience skin cancer. The good news is that many skin malignancies, including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma, can be treated successfully if detected early.
Identifying skin cancer early on may make treatment more manageable. Smaller, less complicated lesions are easier to remove surgically and have a lower risk of scarring or deformity. So, regular visits and proper consultation with your doctor upon discovering strange-looking spots on your skin may provide better chances of getting diagnosed early.
Let’s talk about the signs of skin cancer, how skin cancer is diagnosed early, and where you can go in Miami, Florida, for complete cancer care.
How Skin Cancer Is Diagnosed Early
A visual examination is usually performed first to screen for skin cancer, where a dermatologist will evaluate the new spots on your skin. They may also ask about the symptoms you’re experiencing and any family members who have had skin cancer.
Dermatologists will employ sophisticated microscopes to inspect your skin more closely. With these tools, they can diagnose skin cancer in the following ways:
Your doctor may opt for a skin biopsy if he spots any suspicious patches on the skin. In this procedure, the tissue samples are tested for cancer. While biopsies usually leave minor scars, the size of the trouble spot and the kind of test can change this.
There are several types of skin cancer biopsies, including:
Shave or Tangential Biopsy
With a thin surgical blade, your doctor removes the outermost layers of your skin. The bleeding is then stopped with an ointment, a chemical, or an electrical current.
A cookie cutter-like tool is used to obtain a deeper-layer sample of the skin. The tool is rotated on your skin until all the required layers have been cut through. Your skin can be sewn back together after the removal of the sample.
This is a type of biopsy in which a tissue is cut to remove the entire tumor. Usually, the skin’s edges are sewn back together.
If doctors have reason to believe cancerous cells have made their way to other body parts, they may employ imaging studies, which can include:
- Chest X-rays
- CT (Computerized Tomography) scans
- PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans
Skin Cancer Staging
Once diagnosed, it may prove beneficial to stage your skin cancer (describe how it has spread throughout your body).
Skin cancer is classified in stages, from 1 to 4. Stage 1 cancer solely affects the area where it first appears. Inversely, the most dangerous skin cancers are those at stage 4 because they have already made their way to other body parts.
Knowing your cancer’s stage might assist your doctor in prescribing the treatment and predicting your prognosis.
Who Is a Candidate for Skin Cancer Screening?
People who have had family members get skin cancer or have had new suspicious-looking spots should get their skin checked.
You should consult your doctor if any of these risk factors apply to you:
- Easy-to-burn or freckle skin
- Blonde or reddish-brown hair
- Green or blue eyes
- New moles on your skin
- Immune system dysfunction
Diagnosis of Skin Cancer in Miami, Florida
Early diagnosis is critical for successful skin cancer treatment. You should pay attention to your skin and conduct regular head-to-toe self-examinations. If you are concerned about a spot, lesion, or mole, make an appointment with a dermatologist.
Dr. T.J. Giuffrida, the founder of the Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center, is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in skin cancer and Mohs surgery. Dr. Giuffrida’s broad experience and expertise enable him to give prompt diagnosis and treatment for any skin disease, thereby ensuring your health.
To know more, or schedule an appointment, contact our staff today at (305) 461-2000 or fill out our convenient online request form.