Skin Rejuvenation
Dermatologist Ft Worth Texas
Ft Worth Cosmetic Medicine

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is common and when caught early can usually be treated with a great outcome.  Of all types, basal cell carcinoma is the most common and affects fair-skinned individuals more commonly.   It tends to have a good prognosis because it only very rarely ever spreads to other parts of the body.  It usually causes problems by growing deeper or wider and causing problems locally in that area.  When considering treatment, there are several considerations depending on your priorities.  Topical therapy is a good option for superficial cancers, but deeper cancers likely need removal by either Mohs surgery, excision, or scraping and burning the cancer.  The more delicate the area and more aggressive-appearing the cancer, the more likely it is to need Mohs surgery, a specialized treatment done by a trained skin cancer surgeon.  In some cases plastic surgeons can remove the tumor or assist in the repair.  The cure rates of the different procedures and the preference of the patient are usually what matters in deciding which way is best to treat the cancer.  In unusual circumstances, radiation is used after treatment or as the primary treatment.

A second very common type of skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma.  These cancers also are more common in fair skinned individuals but also are known to occur in scars.  When treated adequately and in a timely manner, these cancers tend to have a good prognosis as well.  With certain individuals, however, particularly patients with a history of transplants or certain genetic disorders, these cancers can be aggressive.  Treatments are similar to those for basal cell carcinoma.  If localized, then destructive methods like scraping and burning, excision, or Mohs are good choices, but the aggressiveness of the tumor and the location as well as patient factors must be considered.  Again, radiation can be considered for some cases either as primary treatment or after excision if it appears to be an aggressive tumor. 

The third type of skin cancer, melanoma, is the most serious, but in fact, it can have a good prognosis when caught early and treated.  It can sometimes occur in a mole that a patient may have had for years, but more often it occurs as a new lesion.  What is usually common is that the growth has changed or is new.  It is very important not to delay in seeking care if a new growth has appeared or changed.  Many melanomas are dark brown or black but they can appear as a variety of colors such as pink, red, or tan.  Treatment of melanoma depends on the stage of the tumor.  For early tumors, complete removal by excision is usually curative but you will need routine follow-up skin exams to check the area and all other areas of skin.  Deeper tumors may require further studies such as checking the lymph node that drains that area of skin or imaging studies.  These can be discussed with you at the time of diagnosis. 

Other more rare skin cancers exist as well, but the bottom line is early detection and sun protection in all cases. 


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Dr. Allison Readinger