Skin cancers — including basal cell carcinomas, melanomas, and squamous cell carcinomas — often start as discolorations or spots on your skin. These discolorations can be new growths or precancerous lesions — spots that are not cancerous, could become cancer over time. It is estimated that 40% to 50% of all fair-skinned people who live to be 65 will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. By visiting Arsenault Dermatology, you can be educated to spot the early warning signs of skin cancer. If detected early, skin cancer can be easily treated.
Skin Cancer is most successfully treated when detected early. Because it is potentially life-saving, we recommend everyone perform monthly self-examinations along with regular skin checks. To improve the success of early detection, the experienced the providers at Arsenault Dermatology use a dermatoscope, a handheld device which greatly magnifies the skin, allowing us to detect the development of unusual growths or spots naked to the human eye. By combining both, self-exams and dermascopy, you can greatly improve your prognosis, allowing you to maintain healthy cancer-free skin.
If you are concerned about skin cancer, you should Contact Us immediately to schedule a complete and thorough evaluation at one of our 2 locations in Sarasota or Lakewood Ranch.
Our goal is to diagnose your skin lesion at its earliest, most curable state. For many types of skin cancer these are called pre-cancers. Pre-cancerous lesions, like actinic keratosis and dysplastic moles, can potentially turn into life-threatening malignancies. However, if we diagnose and treat early, your prognosis is considerably better. This is the power of primary prevention treatments using dermascopy, like full-body skin exams offered at Arsenault Dermatology.
These small, scaly patches are caused by too much sun, and commonly occur on the head, neck, or hands, but can be found elsewhere. They can be an early warning sign of skin cancer, but it’s hard to tell whether a particular patch will continue to change over time and become cancerous. Most do not, but doctors recommend early treatment to prevent the development of squamous cell skin cancer. Fair-skinned, blond, or red-haired people with blue or green eyes are most at risk.
Atypical moles are not cancer, but they can become cancer. They can be found in sun-exposed or sun-protected areas of the body. Atypical moles may be larger (one-quarter inch across or larger) and more irregular in shape, with notched or fading borders. They may be flat or raised or the surface smooth or rough. They are typically of mixed color, including pink, red, tan, and brown.
Skin cancer has a higher cure rate when caught early on, which is why it’s important to consult the medical expertise of Arsenault Dermatology as soon as discovering a new mole, or abnormal rash, bump or scar on any member of your family.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common and easiest-to-treat skin cancer. Because basal cell carcinoma spreads slowly, it occurs mostly in adults. Basal cell tumors can take on many forms, including a pearly white or waxy bump, often with visible blood vessels, on the ears, neck, or face. Tumors can also appear as a flat, scaly, flesh-colored or brown patch on the back or chest, or more rarely, a white, waxy scar.
This nonmelanoma skin cancer may appear as a firm red nodule, a scaly growth that bleeds or develops a crust, or a sore that doesn’t heal. It most often occurs on the nose, forehead, ears, lower lip, hands, and other sun-exposed areas of the body. Squamous cell carcinoma is curable if caught and treated early. If the skin cancer becomes more advanced, treatment will depend on the stage of cancer.
Melanoma is not as common as other types of skin cancer, but it’s the most serious and potentially deadly. Possible signs of melanoma include a change in the appearance of a mole or pigmented area. Consult a doctor if a mole changes in size, shape, or color, has irregular edges, is more than one color, is asymmetrical, or itches, oozes, or bleeds.
Definitions and photos courtesy of WebMD.