Our skin has several layers, but the most common are the epidermis (upper layer) and dermis (lower or inner layer).
Skin cancer is when the cells of the epidermis layer – squamous cells, basal cells, and melanocytes – begin to proliferate in an uncontrollable and unorderly fashion.
In the US, skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed – but the most common types of skin cancers are not usually deadly if diagnosed and treated early.
If you think you’re at risk for skin cancer – whether due to your skin color, race, family history, or other factors – the following are some signs you should watch out for.
Signs of Skin Cancer
Depending on the type of cells impacted by cancer, the signs of skin cancer differ. The following are the signs of the most prevalent kinds of skin cancer:
Basal Cell Carcinoma Signs
If the basal cells of your skin’s epidermis have become malignant, you will notice superficial bleeding or scabbing sores that either don’t heal or return if they heal. These may appear as a waxy or pearly bump.
BCC may also appear as a scar-like lesion that is flat, flesh-colored, or brown.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Signs
Cancer of the squamous cell may appear as a flat lesion with a crusted, scaly surface. You may also notice a firm, red nodule.
Melanoma is a cancer of melanocytes that mostly occurs on the face and trunk in men and on the lower legs in women.
Melanoma may be noticeable as a large brownish spot that has darker speckles. It may also appear as a mole that changes in color, size, or feels or as a painful lesion that burns or itch.
It is also common to develop dark lesions on fingertips, toes, soles, and palms, as well as on mucous membrane that lines the anus, mount, nose, or vagina.
Kaposi Sarcoma Signs
This rare type of skin cancer mostly affects the blood vessels of the skin and thereby appears as a red or purple patch on the skin or mucous membrane.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma Signs
Firm, shiny nodules on or just beneath the skin or in the hair follicles are common signs of Merkel cell carcinoma – a carcinoma that mostly affects the head, neck, and trunk.
How To Treat Skin Cancer?
Needless to say, the earlier you catch the red flags of skin cancer, the easier it is to treat.
Typically, the treatment for skin cancer depends on the stage of cancer – stages of skin cancer range from stage 0 to stage IV. The higher the stage number, the more cancer has spread.
The treatment options for skin cancer include:
This is the most effective method for skin cancer removal. In Mohs micrographic surgery, only diseased tissue or growth is removed and observed under the microscope immediately after the removal. Additional layers of the malignant tissues continue to be removed until no malignant cells are seen under the microscope.
Electrodesiccation and Curettage (ED & C)
This method involves using low levels of electricity to scrape off and burn the tumor.
As its name implies, in this method, the tumor and some surrounding healthy skin tissues are removed to be sure that all malignant cells have been removed.
This involves the freezing of skin cancer with liquid nitrogen. The dead cells then fall off after the treatment. Carcinoma limited to the top layer of the skin is mostly removed by this method.
Topical creams containing drugs such as fluorouracil are applied to the skin to destroy cancerous cells.
Topical cream, such as imiquimod, is applied to the skin cancer area to boost the immune response of the immune system, which then helps remove cancerous cells.
People who can’t undergo a knife are the preferred choice for radiation therapy – a therapy in which strong beams of energy are used to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing or dividing.
Skin Cancer Dermatologist in Miami, FL
If you’re at risk for skin cancer or have a history of sunburn, dermatologists encourage you to look out for the above-mentioned signs of skin cancer – and if you have moles, notice if there is any change in their symmetry, border, color, diameter and growth over time.
It is also a good idea to get yourself physically examined for the signs of skin cancer by our skin cancer dermatologist Dr. TJ Giuffrida at Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center. Our dermatologist has been offering the highest quality dermatologic services in the Miami area since 2006 and has provided treatment to countless patients with skin cancer.
To make an appointment with our dermatologist, call us today at (305) 461-2000 or request your appointment online.