While there are many different types of cancer, skin cancer is arguably one of the most common. Fortunately, if it is spotted early, and diagnosis and treatment are prompt, nearly all skin cancers can be treated effectively without having a long-term impact on your health and wellbeing.
Skin cancer occurs when a person experiences an abnormal growth of skin cells. This most often happens in areas of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun but can appear anywhere on the body. One of the most challenging aspects of recognizing skin cancer is the variety of appearances that cancerous cells can take and the fact that many skin blemishes are often not cancerous at all.
Recognizing skin cancer or a concerning skin lesion is an important part of the training that cosmetic surgeons undergo when obtaining their qualifications and experience. Our experienced team understands what to look for and how to take a biopsy of any concerning areas of skin so that we can determine if they are cancerous and if so, what type of cancer it is.
There are primarily two different categories of skin cancer. These are basal and squamous cell skin cancers, and melanomas. Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are actually the most common, despite more people have heard of melanoma.
This type of skin cancer appears as a small, shiny or waxy pink lump. It may also look like a scaly red patch, sometimes with darker pigmentation within it. Over time, the lump may get larger and become crusty and bleed. However, basal cell carcinomas rarely spread to other parts of the body.
This type of skin cancer appears as a firm, pink lump that has a crusted surface. It can be tender to the touch and bleed easily if bumped or knocked.
Both Basal and squamous cell carcinomas can cause considerable damage to the skin if treatment isn’t sought fairly promptly.
This form of skin cancer develops from the cells that give your skin color and appear as moles that have become abnormal. They may grow, change shape or even change color. Contrary to popular belief, while they are usually black or brown, moles can also be tan, pink or even white. Unfortunately, if treatment isn’t prompt, melanomas can spread to other parts of the body, making cancer much harder to treat. Therefore, prompt diagnosis is essential.
Once you have had a diagnosis of skin cancer confirmed, exactly what treatment you will be offered will depend on your individual circumstances. There are a variety of different options available. These include:
Surgery to remove the cancerous cells
Topical treatments that target and destroy skin cancer cells
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) which uses medication and a special type of light to destroy cancer cells
Your oncology team will be able to advise you which is the most suitable form of treatment based on the type of cancer you have, the location of it on your body and what stage of growth it is at.
If you require surgery to remove cancerous cells, your oncologist may require the presence of a plastic surgeon. This can be to provide skin grafts where there are large areas of skin that need to be removed, as well as to help reduce scarring and the ongoing visible effects of your surgery. The expertise of a plastic surgeon in assessing skin from an aesthetic perspective ensures that the scars from any surgery can be orientated to minimize their cosmetic impact
Our expert team understands the importance of doing everything possible to maintain your natural appearance to ensure that your confidence and self-esteem are not adversely affected. For more information or to book an appointment please contact Texas Plastic Surgery in San Antonio, TX today and our experienced team will be happy to help 210-981-4490.