May might have been skin cancer awareness month, but unfortunately, cancer doesn’t discriminate according to month. Whether you have a loved one that has survived melanoma, are fighting it yourself, or are simply curious, here’s what you need to know about how pre-cancerous lesions and cancerous lesions are treated.
There are multiple ways to treat skin cancer and at Skin Wellness Center, our experts are here to help you stay healthy.
Skin Cancer Screening
Just like getting regular physicals, paying a visit to your dermatologist is important and necessary for your health.
During the skin screening, we will check you from head to toe for any abnormal, new, or irregular spots and/or moles. A skin cancer growth can appear in many forms such as a new, expanding, or changing growth, spot, or bump on the skin or a wart that has shifted in color or size. However, these are not the only signs and symptoms, so it’s important to turn to a professional when it comes to diagnosing a cancerous legion.
Expect our board-certified clinicians to check in on your family history of cancer and if any irregular spots are found, we may use special tools to remove a sample (biopsy) of skin from the suspicious area. This may sound scary, but don’t worry: we’re here with you every step of the way to ensure a safe and quick experience. In fact, if caught early enough some forms of skin cancer can even be treated with a topical cream.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
Photodynamic therapy is a form of therapy that combines light and special drugs called photosensitizing agents to kill precancerous cells and treat premalignant growths. When the special photosensitizers are exposed to the wavelength of light, they produce a form of oxygen that kills nearby cells; each photosensitizer and wavelength is set very specifically to determine how far the light can travel into the body. Different areas of the body require different wavelengths.
In simple terms, this means that abnormal growths can be targeted and killed directly before they turn into something more problematic.
In layman’s terms, cryotherapy involves the process of freezing away an abnormal lesion using liquid nitrogen.
This treatment is recommended on basal cell carcinomas, actinic keratoses, moles, and warts. The procedure itself is simple: The liquid nitrogen is applied or sprayed onto the cancer and following the procedure, the frozen tissue thaws and will either dissolve and form a scab or be naturally absorbed by the body.
If we determine your lesions to be cancerous, we may suggest Mohs surgery by our very own Dr. Haynes. Mohs surgery is considered to be the most effective form of treatment against the two most common types of skin cancer. Luckily, the procedure is less intimidating than it sounds.
The procedure is done in stages, all in one visit. Using a scalpel, Dr. Haynes will remove a thin layer of visible cancerous tissue. After removing a layer of tissue, she examines it under a microscope in an on-site lab. If any cancer cells remain, Dr. Haynes knows the exact area where they are and removes another layer of tissue from that precise location, while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible. She will repeat this process until no cancerous cells remain.
Our treatment is individualized to each patient, so expect a tailored solution. For any further questions, or to schedule your appointment give us a call: (727) 545-3376.