Skin cancer begins when genes in cells mutate and start to grow out of control. The top cause of this mutation is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.
Your cumulative exposure to ultraviolet light determines your overall risk for skin cancer, but other factors also contribute. Your risk of developing skin cancer increases if you have:
Medical conditions and medications that make you more sensitive to UV light also raise your chance of developing skin cancer.
The three types of skin cancer that UV light causes are:
BCC, the most common type of skin cancer, often looks like a raised, round, skin-colored growth. But it could be pink or light red, indented, and look like an age spot or a patch of scaly skin. Sometimes, BCC is a small sore that bleeds and then crusts over.
SCC, the second most common type, doesn’t usually spread into your body, but it can grow deep into the surrounding area, damaging anything in its path. This type of skin cancer usually starts as a benign skin condition called actinic keratosis, which appears as dry, rough skin patches.
Melanoma accounts for 1% of all skin cancers, but it causes the most deaths. This type of cancer typically begins in an existing mole. While basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas seldom spread, melanoma metastasizes throughout your body. Once that happens, it’s difficult to treat.
All types of skin cancer treatment remove the visible tumor and a small amount of the surrounding tissue called the margins. Dermatologists send the tissues to a lab where technicians check for cancer cells in the margins. If cancer remains, you go back to the office, where your provider removes another full layer of tissue from around the entire surgical site.
The team at Dermatology and Aesthetics Center of Utah performs simple excisions when needed, but they also offer a second choice: Mohs surgery.
Mohs surgery is a highly specialized technique that includes mapping the margins before removal and examining the tissues in-office instead of sending them to a lab.
If cancer cells are still in the margins, the team at Dermatology and Aesthetics Center of Utah uses their map to identify the precise location of the cells.
Since you wait in the office while they do the lab work, they can immediately remove another small piece of tissue from the exact spot where they located the cancer cells before removing the tumor. Then they check that piece of tissue for cancer cells.
Using this step-wise process, they remove tiny pieces of tissue until all the cancer is gone. As a result, they save the maximum amount of healthy skin while curing you.
The best way to detect skin cancer at an early stage is with a full skin check at Dermatology and Aesthetics Center of Utah. To schedule an appointment, call the nearest office or request an appointment online today.