Skin Cancer - Types, Symptoms & Treatments

The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70, and more than two people die from skin cancer every hour in the US. While these statistics are certainly eye-opening, there are ways to reduce your risk for skin cancer. Whether you want to discuss ways to protect your skin or have a suspicious growth that requires the expert eye of our Raleigh, NC, dermatologists, call Central Dermatology Center for all your skincare needs.

What are the Types of Skin Cancer?

When people think of skin cancer, they often think of melanoma, a dangerous and even life-threatening form of skin cancer. Of course, melanoma isn’t the only type of skin cancer. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are the two most common forms of non-melanoma skin cancer. Rarer forms of skin cancer include Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), Kaposi’s sarcoma and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP).

What are the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer?

When detecting melanoma, it’s important to look for any changes in a mole's color, size, shape or appearance. Moles should stay the same over time, so any changes in appearance or how they feel could be a sign of skin cancer. Some warning signs include,

  • Blurry, poorly defined borders

  • Asymmetrical growths or moles

  • Changes in color or the development of multiple colors

  • Moles that are larger than a pencil eraser

  • New moles, especially over age 30

Moles that scab over, hurt, bleed, ooze or are painful should also be assessed by our team of dermatologists. If in doubt, give us a call. We can ask you questions over the phone to determine if an in-person visit is necessary.

How is Skin Cancer Treated?

Early detection is key to ensuring that individuals don’t have to undergo more invasive procedures and surgeries to treat their cancer. That’s why it’s important to set aside time in your schedule every year with our team for a skin cancer screening. While you should still be checking your moles regularly on your own, these screenings are lifesaving. If we detect skin cancer, we offer a wide range of treatment options to treat all types and severities of skin cancer. Common skin cancer treatments include,

  • Cryosurgery: freezing the cancerous growth with liquid nitrogen to treat early basal and squamous cell carcinomas

  • Mohs micrographic surgery: a conservative, tissue-preserving surgical technique that’s ideal for treating melanoma and more delicate areas of the face or body

  • Excision: a surgical procedure that involves cutting away the skin cancer and a margin of healthy tissue around the cancerous lesion to ensure that all cancer is removed

  • Superficial radiation therapy (SRT): this external targeted radiation treats superficial skin cancers that are just on the surface of the skin and won’t travel to organs or other parts of the body (unlike traditional radiation)

  • Curettage and electrodesiccation: a technique that involves scraping and burning away the skin cancer and is used most often on basal and squamous cell carcinomas

Here at Central Dermatology Center, we are dedicated to preventing, diagnosing and treating all forms of skin cancer. If you have noticed any changes to your skin, or want to schedule your annual skin cancer screening, call our Raleigh, NC, practice today at (919) 401-1994.