According to the American Cancer Society, 20 percent of American adults will develop some kind of skin cancer by the age of 70.
While not all skin spots and lesions are cancerous, some may be; so early detection and treatment produce the best chance for full remission.
Let’s talk about how to be alert to possible skin cancer symptoms and where you can go in Miami, FL, for best cancer management.
Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancers of all kinds mostly develop from overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Artificial tanning beds also are increasingly responsible for many skin cancer cases in the US, particularly among young women.
However, regardless of the cause, the vast majority of skin cancers (up to 99 percent) fall into three general categories:
- Basal cell carcinoma, the most common skin malignancy, which grows in the topmost layer of the skin (epidermis)
- Squamous cell carcinoma, which develops in the lower portion of the epidermis and can spread or metastasize
- Malignant melanoma, which occurs in the pigment-producing cells of the skin and can rapidly spread to major body organs, such as the brain
Here are the symptoms you should consider when examining your skin. If you see changes, please see your PCP immediately or contact your skin cancer doctor in Miami, FL, for a consultation.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Symptoms
In general, this common skin cancer lesion looks pearl-like and may be brown in color. It may bleed and even resemble a scab that does not heal or fall off. BCS does not spread beyond its site of origin; however, if not removed, it can cause extensive and unsightly damage to the skin.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Symptoms
This more concerning kind of skin cancer is usually red in color. It may be flat and scaly or resemble a nodule, or bump, just below the skin. The face, scalp, upper arms, and hands are common locations for this highly treatable cancer.
Malignant Melanoma Symptoms
Unfortunately, the deadliest skin cancers–malignant melanoma–can develop in body areas not exposed to the sun. That’s why the whole-body monthly skin exams at home and with your skin doctor annually in Miami, FL, are so important. Additionally, melanoma spreads quickly, but early detection and intervention can produce high cure rates–up to 99 percent.
The symptoms of melanoma include lesions that are dark brown in color, sometimes with black specks. The borders of these lesions are irregular and may bleed, itch and produce varying degrees of pain.
Seemingly harmless skin moles may change into malignant melanoma. So, your skin cancer doctor in Miami, FL, encourages you to watch any existing moles carefully, using this ABCDE mnemonic to check for possible cancer:
A for asymmetry. Benign moles should be the same shape and size on both sides of an imaginary line that divides the mole into halves.
B for border. It should be smooth–not notched or irregular.
C for color. The color should be evenly distributed, not mottled or varying in tone.
D for diameter. Cancerous lesions usually are larger than 6 millimeters or bigger than a pencil top eraser.
E for evolving. Healthy moles look the same year in and year out. Changes in appearance or how they feel could mean malignancy.
Your MOHS Surgeon in Miami, FL
At Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center, our surgeon Dr. TJ Giuffrida is a board-certified dermatologist who also is fellowship-trained in the highly regarded MOHS micrographic surgery techniques. MOHS surgery is known for its accuracy in removing all cancer from the operated site and also for ease of site reconstruction.
Also, our dermatology practice is pleased to offer more traditional surgical options and non-operative treatments, such as immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy. Your treatments depend on your unique case needs.
For more information on skin cancer symptoms or to schedule an in-office evaluation, please call our office team at (305) 461-2000, or request your visit by filling out our online form. We hope we will see you soon.