Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, but it's also one of the most preventable. At Heights Dermatology in Houston, Rosenberg, Lake Jackson, Portland, Corpus Christi, Palacios, Columbus, Gonzales, Dallas, Mansfield, Beaumont, Bay City, New Braunfels, and San Antonio, Texas, skilled dermatologists remove and treat skin cancer using the latest evidence-based approaches. To learn more, call Heights Dermatology or book online today.
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and it’s often linked to excessive sun exposure. While anyone can get skin cancer, those with fair skin are at the highest risk because of their tendency to burn in the sun. The three most common types of skin cancer are:
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma develops in the large, round cells at the bottom of the epidermis. They mostly show up on the arms, head, neck, and anywhere else that gets substantial sun exposure.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma develops in the flattened cells at the top of the epidermis. Like basal cell carcinoma, it tends to show up in areas with lots of sun exposure.
Melanoma is the most dangerous of these three types because it’s the most likely to spread to other areas. It develops in melanocytes, the skin cells that create pigment.
How is skin cancer diagnosed?
Skin cancer screening doesn’t automatically give you a diagnosis, but it’s an important part of the process for many individuals who have skin cancer.
Suppose you’re at a particularly high risk due to family history or your tendency to sunburn. In that case, a dermatologist examines your entire body during a skin cancer screening for any concerning or changing moles and lesions.
If they detect any areas of concern, your dermatologist requests a skin biopsy. They remove a sample of skin from the targeted lesion or lesions and examine the sample in a lab for cancer cells. If your dermatologist finds cancer cells, they find out which type you have and make an official diagnosis.
You can screen yourself at home for skin cancer by examining all parts of your skin, with good lighting and a mirror, for new or changing moles.
What are my treatment options for skin cancer?
Your treatment for skin cancer depends on the exact diagnosis as well as the precise location, size, and depth of the cancerous lesion. It also depends on whether the cancer has spread beyond its borders.
Your treatment may consist of:
- Superficial radiation therapy
- Mohs surgery
- Laser treatment
Your dermatologist explains your diagnosis in detail and what it means for your treatment. They typically take the least invasive approach possible at Heights Dermatology.
For more information about skin cancer and treatments for each type, call Heights Dermatology at one of our convenient locations or book an appointment online today.