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Did you know that more people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States than all other cancers combined? There are several types of skin cancer and, thankfully, most are treatable. At Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry, Oswald L. Mikell, MD, not only specializes in identifying and treating skin cancer, but also offers the most advanced surgical technique for its removal: Mohs surgery. If you’d like to learn more, please call the office in Hilton Head, Okatie, or Beaufort, South Carolina or schedule a visit on the website.
Cancer of any kind is abnormal growth of cells, and in the case of skin cancer, that means skin cells. The three most common types of skin cancer include:
About eight in 10 cases of skin cancer are basal cell carcinomas, which affect the basal cells in your skin located in the lower layers. This type of skin cancer typically develops in areas that have been exposed to the sun for prolonged periods.
Your squamous cells are located on the surface of your skin, which means that sun exposure plays a large role in this type of cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for two out of every 10 cases of skin cancer and, if left untreated, can spread to other parts of your body.
This form of cancer is the least common, and the most dangerous. Melanoma develops in your melanocytes, which produce the pigment in your skin, and it’s more likely to grow and spread than other forms of skin cancer.
The symptoms of skin cancer vary depending on what type of cancer it is. Most basal cell carcinomas show up on the skin of your head or neck as a small, opaque bump or a flat, discolored area that looks like a scar.
Squamous cell carcinomas usually appear on your face and hands and take the form of a small, red nodule or flat, scaly lesions called actinic keratoses, or AKs. AKs are considered precancerous and should be checked out by Dr. Mikell.
Melanoma usually presents as a dark, sometimes multi-colored, spot or mole with irregular borders. These spots usually show up on your feet, hands, genital areas, or face.
To qualify to perform Mohs surgery, Dr. Mikell underwent intensive training to do three things:
Mohs surgery is a technique where Dr. Mikell removes the cancerous lesion one layer at a time until he finds healthy tissues. The goal of Mohs surgery is to remove all the cancer cells while keeping your healthy tissue intact.
Dr. Mikell uses Mohs surgery for both basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas with great success. In addition, Dr. Mikell employs a cosmetic closure technique that is aesthetically pleasing to reduce the affects of scaring from the Mohs cancer-removal procedure.
If you’d like to learn more about skin cancer and how to treat it, call Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry, or use the convenient booking tool online to schedule a consultation.