More than 3.5 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer annually. Fortunately, the condition can be managed if detected early. Asheville skin cancer treatments are tailored to your needs and preferences to attain the best results for your health.
Skin cancer risk factors
Skin cancer develops when there is an anomaly in the regeneration of new skin cells. Rapid cell growth may produce cancerous growth that can spread to other areas of the body.
Excessive exposure to sunlight is the leading cause of skin cancer. You may be at risk If you spend a lot of time outdoors and frequently experience sunburns.
Tanning beds or therapies that expose the skin to unhealthy levels of radiation. Aging reduces the efficacy of your immune response and encourages the spread of cancerous skin cells.
Researchers have also linked viral infections like HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) to incidences of skin cancer. There are more than 100 viruses associated with HPV, and some have been linked to filiform and genital warts. The virus-causing non-genital warts is also responsible for squamous-cell carcinoma or non-melanoma skin cancer.
You are more likely to have skin cancer if you smoke or regularly consume tobacco. Cancerous tumors may develop from exposure to carcinogenic chemicals such as arsenic, benzene, and industrial tar.
Genetics can also make you susceptible to skin cancer. You should attend regular screenings if your family has a skin cancer history.
How is skin cancer diagnosed?
Your oncologist will examine your skin for signs of cancerous growth. If the oncologists suspect it is cancer, they will take a sample for a biopsy.
A biopsy involves making minor incisions to remove part or all of the tumor. Your oncologist will apply anesthesia to numb your skin. The sample is taken to the lab for examination under a microscope.
A biopsy is essential since it is the only way to establish if the tumor is cancerous. It may take several weeks before you receive results. The biopsy will also determine the type of skin cancer.
In many cases, further tests are unnecessary. But your oncologist may examine you to establish if the tumor has spread to other areas of your body.
Treatment options for skin cancer
Treatment will vary between patients depending on the type and extent of the tumor. Precancerous lesions can be removed by chemical peels as long as the lesions have not progressed to cancer. Your oncologist will apply the chemical peel on your skin, forcing the upper layer to come off.
Chemical peels do not have serious side effects but may cause discoloration for the first four weeks. The process is not suitable for people with a history of skin discoloration or skin scarring.
Another treatment procedure for skin cancer is curettage and electrodesiccation. Your oncologist removes the skin surface with a spoon-shaped tool. The affected area is cauterized or heated to prevent bleeding or infections.
Surgery is necessary if there is an infection in large areas of skin cells. The procedure takes between one and two hours to complete.
Contact Beacon Dermatology to schedule an appointment for skin cancer diagnosis and treatment.