SKIN CANCER TREATMENT
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States… more than 500,000 cases are reported each year…90% is caused by the Sun’s UV rays.
Melanoma & Non-Melanoma are the most common types of skin cancer today. Both types are highly curable if diagnosed and treated early. Everyone is at risk for skin cancer but – some people are more at risk than others. About 80% of skin cancers appear on the face, head and neck- but it can be found on any part of the body. Skin cancer can be successfully treated if diagnosed early and treated early but can be disfiguring or even fatal if left untreated. The primary cause of skin cancer is ultraviolet radiation most often from the sun. Sunlamps and tanning booths are the other major causes of skin cancer. Anyone of any age, race or skin type can get skin cancer – but the following skin types are at greater risk:
SKIN CANCER - RISK FACTORS:
- Lighter natural skin color
- Family/Personal history of skin cancer
- Exposure to the sun through work and play
- A history of sunburns early in life
- Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun
- Blue or green eyes & Blond or red hair
- Certain types & a large number of moles
- Some prescription drugs make you more susceptible to UV rays
TYPES OF SKIN CANCER
- BASAL CELL CARCINOMA – is the most common type of skin and is the least dangerous type. It tends to grow slowly, rarely spreads beyond its original site, is seldom life-threatening but if left untreated it can grow deep beneath the skin and into the underlying tissue and bone causing serious damage – especially if located near the eye.
- SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA – is the second in line and frequently appears on the lips, face or ears. It sometimes spreads to distant sites including lymph nodes and internal organs. Squamous Cell carcinoma can become life threatening if left untreated.
- MALIGNANT MELANOMA – is the least common but occurrence is on the rise – especially in Sunbelt states. It is the most dangerous type of skin cancer but can be completely cured if diagnosed early and treated quickly. Malignant melanoma is capable of spreading throughout the body and can be fatal if not found and treated early.
SYMPTOMS OF SKIN CANCER:
- A small lump (spot or mole) that is shin, waxy, pale in color & smooth in texture
- A red – firm lump – either a spot or mole
- A sore or spot that bleeds or becomes crusty – sores that don’t heal
- Rough/scaly skin patches – Flat scaly areas that are red or brown
- New growths that are suspicious
IMPORTANT SUN INFORMATION:
Sun Exposure has cumulative, lasting effectsthat add up daily while you’re gardening, sailing, swimming, fishing, hiking, or just walking to and from your car. Sunlight reflects - off water, sand, concrete, boat decks and snow. Sun reaches below water’s surface and UV rays are present even on cloudy days.
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT FOR SKIN CANCER:
Diagnosis involves removing all or part of the growth and examining those cells microscopically. There are several treatments used depending upon the type of cancer, its stage of growth and the location on your body. Most cancers are surgically removed under local anesthesia. Other treatments include curettage, cryosurgery, radiation therapy, topical chemotherapy and Moh’s surgery which is performed only by specially trained surgeons. In cases of major surgery, even though they are life-saving, they often leave patients with less than pleasing cosmetic or functional results
Reconstruction surgery if performed for 3 reasons: to repair damaged tissue – to rebuild body parts – to restore function and a more pleasing appearance. Dr. White is highly trained, skilled and experienced in reconstruction surgeries.
Preventing skin cancer involves being smart about the effects of the Sun’s UV rays and knowing how to avoid excess exposure. Avoid the sun between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm as much as possible, seek shade when you are outdoors during those hours, wear protective clothing – including a hat and sun glasses and use sunscreen.
Choosing A Facial Plastic Surgeon:
Choosing a surgeon is serious business and should require certain factors in order for you to trust and place your confidence in this surgeon; is he qualified to perform the procedure you need/want safely and effectively, does he have excellent training, a proven track record, and is he specialized in the areas of concern? Dr. White is in a special league of surgeons who have been trained in Ivy league schools and who have many extra years of training and experience through “fellowships” – which involve extra years of rigorous training/experience. He is specialized in procedures of the head and neck – and he teaches other surgeons – the life-changing techniques that he uses for his own patients.
Dr. Matthew White is a cosmetic & reconstructive facial plastic surgeon –you can trust him to use safe, effective, proven – minimally invasive techniques – to achieve the outcomes you want & deserve.