Skin Cancer Sarasota
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancers are typically grouped in three general categories:
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Each of these groups has excessive exposure to sunlight as a risk factor, but in some cases cancers can start in places not normally exposed to sunlight. Ultraviolet radiation, found in both natural sunlight and artificial sources, such as those used in tanning beds, can cause the mutations that start many cases of skin cancer. Other suspected factors including a weakened immune system and toxic exposures may also induce mutations leading to skin cancers.
What are the symptoms of skin cancer?
Each category of skin cancer has its own appearance, but there are many variations. Any new, changing or otherwise suspicious spot is reason to consult with a Dermatologist to evaluate the area for skin cancer.
Basal cell carcinoma usually starts in sun-exposed parts of your body, such as the head and neck area. This type of cancer may produce bumps with a pearl-like appearance, though it may also create flat lesions that can be pink, flesh colored, or brown and have a tendency to bleed.
Squamous cell carcinoma also forms where skin is exposed to sun, but people with darker skin have an increased risk of carcinomas in other areas that rarely receive exposure. Typical appearances for this skin cancer category are red nodules that are firm to the touch, or flat lesions that look scaly or crusted over.
Melanoma is the cancer most likely to occur somewhere other than sun-exposed skin. It also has the greatest variation in appearance. It can occur on normal skin or in an existing mole. Melanoma typically presents as a larger brown spot, but can also be red in color. In a pre-existing mole, it may seem as though the shape, color, or texture of the mole is changing.
How is skin cancer treated?
Treatment depends on the stage of cancer. Early stages typically use some method of excision to remove the cancerous cells. When a tumor metastasizes, or moves to other body parts, then other cancer treatments may be required.