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Skin Cancer

What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells on your body and is currently the most common form of cancer. Skin cancer generally develops on skin that gets repeated sun exposure, but this is not always the case. While skin cancer prevention can be highly effective, quick diagnosis of existing skin cancer is crucial to overcoming it. Paying attention to your skin and any problematic areas is important, and where problems may exist, we’re experienced and skilled in identifying potential cases of skin cancer and providing treatment options.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer in the United States. Approximately 2.8 million cases of basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed each year. Basal cell carcinomas are small red or pink bumps which can be shiny and have small blood vessels running through them. They can also be a non-healing sore which bleeds and crusts over. While most basal cell carcinomas occur in fair-skinned individuals, they can occur in people of all skin types. After a person has been diagnosed and treated for basal cell carcinoma, they are at higher risk for developing another skin cancer. Here at Kentucky Dermatology, we recommend a yearly skin exam to evaluate your moles and assess your risk for basal cell carcinoma. The dermatology professionals at Kentucky Dermatology can evaluate your moles and perform biopsies when necessary. If you have been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma your dermatologist will discuss treatment options.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer in the United States and the most common form in Kentucky. Squamous cell carcinoma will often appear as crusty or rough bumps on sun-exposed areas such as the arms, neck, face, scalp and hands. Sometimes squamous cell carcinoma can appear as sores that do not heal and often bleed and are painful. While most squamous cell carcinomas appear on sun-exposed areas, sometimes they can appear on non-sun exposed areas such as the mouth or genitals. Squamous cell carcinoma requires treatment to fully eradicate the cancer to prevent progression. When caught early, squamous cell carcinomas are highly curable. Dermatology professionals can evaluate your skin lesions and determine if squamous cell carcinoma is suspected. If squamous cell carcinoma is suspected, our providers will perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment options for squamous cell carcinoma including surgical excision which is a minor procedure and can be safely performed at Kentucky Dermatology. Excision would consist of numbing the area with lidocaine and then excising the skin cancer. Stitches or staples would be placed for 1-3 weeks depending on the location. Another treatment option includes electrodesiccation and curettage whereas the skin cancer is removed by scraping and heating the area to destroy the cancerous cells. This method is only used in certain areas of the body.

The dermatology professionals at Kentucky Dermatology can evaluate your skin lesions and discussed with you the most appropriate treatment choice.
After a person has been diagnosed and treated for squamous cell carcinoma, they are at higher risk for developing another squamous cell carcinoma or other skin cancer. Here at Kentucky Dermatology, we recommend frequent skin evaluations, sun avoidance, protective clothing and applying broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30-70 when exposed to the sun.

Malignant Melanoma

Malignant melanoma is a form of skin cancer that often appears as dark irregularly shaped moles. Malignant melanoma can appear rapidly and can spread quickly. In other cases, it may be present for several years without change and then suddenly become aggressive. It is very important to detect malignant melanoma quickly before it is able to spread. With early diagnosis and treatment, malignant melanoma has a very high cure rate. While it is more common in fair-skinned individuals, people of all skin colors and all ages can develop this sometimes fatal skin cancer.

There are several risk factors for developing malignant melanoma including frequent sun exposure, tanning bed use, family history of melanoma, having fair skin or a large number of moles, especially those that are atypical.
Warning signs for melanoma include a recent development of a pigmented spot or the changing of an existing pigmented mole. Important changes to watch out for include:

  • Asymmetry of the mole
  • Irregular or poorly defined borders
  • A mole with multiple colors including black, brown, white or red or blue
  • A mole larger than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser)
  • A mole that is changing rapidly over time
  • A pigmented spot which is painful, bleeding or ulcerated

Here at Kentucky Dermatology, we recommend a yearly skin exam to evaluate your moles and assess your risk for melanoma. Our dermatology professionals can evaluate your moles and perform biopsies when necessary. If you have been diagnosed with malignant melanoma your dermatologist will discuss treatment options depending on the stage of the melanoma.

After a person has been diagnosed and treated for malignant melanoma, they are at higher risk for developing another skin cancer. Here at Kentucky Dermatology, we recommend frequent skin evaluations, sun avoidance with protective clothing and applying broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30-70 when exposed to the sun.

Dysplastic Nevi

Dysplastic nevi are abnormal moles which often appear dark brown or black. Dysplastic nevi can evolve into malignant melanoma so it is important to remove dysplastic nevi when detected to prevent this progression.
Warning signs for dysplastic nevi include a recent development of a mole or the changing of an existing mole. Important changes to watch out for include:

  • Asymmetry of the mole
  • Irregular or poorly defined borders
  • A mole with multiple colors including black, brown, white or red or blue
  • A mole larger than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser)
  • A mole that is evolving over time

Skin cancer detection & treatment

Here at Kentucky Dermatology, we recommend a yearly skin exam to evaluate your moles and assess your risk for skin cancer. Our dermatology professionals can evaluate your moles and perform biopsies when necessary. If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer your dermatologist will discuss treatment options.

After a person has been diagnosed and treated for dysplastic nevi, they are at higher risk for developing additional abnormal moles. We recommend frequent skin evaluations, sun avoidance with protective clothing and applying broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30-70 when exposed to the sun.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment call us today (toll-free) at: 800-432-9005.

Office locations in Lexington, KY; London, KY; and Richmond, KY.