One in five people is affected by skin cancer at some point in their lives. With early detection and treatment at Eternal Dermatology, better outcomes are possible. Ife J. Rodney, MD, FAAD, is a surgical and medical dermatology expert in Glenn Dale, Maryland, with extensive experience in skin cancer diagnosis and treatment. Call the office or book an appointment online to get expert care with Dr. Rodney today.
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. Skin cancer occurs when unrepaired DNA damage — most often caused by exposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds — triggers mutations in your skin cells that turn into malignant (cancerous) tumors.
The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid exposure to UV radiation. Don’t use tanning beds and wear sunscreen daily. If you’re out in the sun for long periods, reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours and choose clothing that covers your skin, including a hat, long sleeves, and pants.
What are different types of skin cancer?
Skin cancer types are categorized based on the kind of cells they’re made of and their appearance. Anyone can get skin cancer, though it’s most common in people with fair skin.
Different types of skin cancer include:
Actinic keratosis (AK)
AK appears as dry, scaly patches or spots of precancerous growths.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
BCC is the most common type of skin cancer and appears as a flesh-colored, pearl-like bump or pinkish patch of skin.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and may develop from an existing mole or may appear as a new irregularly shaped dark spot on the skin.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
SCC is the second most common type of skin cancer and appears as a red, firm bump, scaly patch, or sore that partially heals and then reopens.
There are other less common forms of skin cancer. But overall it’s important to protect your skin from the sun and pay attention to any unusual changes in your skin, especially moles that grow or change in shape or color or new patches of dark skin.
How is skin cancer diagnosed?
Dr. Rodney recommends performing skin checks on yourself regularly to look for any changes in your skin. During your visit, she performs a thorough exam of the skin on your entire body and teaches you how to do the same.
If she notices any areas of concern or you have a suspicious mole, Dr. Rodney further examines that area of skin and may collect a small sample of the lesion for testing. Based on her exam and lab testing, Dr. Rodney determines your diagnosis.
How is skin cancer treated?
Skin cancer is treated based on your diagnosis. There are many options for treatment and Dr. Rodney discusses which choices can best help you. Common treatments include:
- Excision surgery
- Curettage and electrodesiccation
- Mohs surgery
- Photodynamic therapy
- Medicated creams
- Prescription medications
New treatments and clinical trials are being developed to treat skin cancer and Dr. Rodney stays up-to-date on all of your options.
If you suspect you have skin cancer, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.