McLean Dermatology has helped many patients with diagnosing and treating skin cancer. Although a skin cancer diagnosis is not something people like to hear, early diagnosis is absolutely key to improving survival rates. This is because skin cancer is much easier to fully treat in its early stages. When the tumor has grown and metastasized to other parts of the body, the treatment becomes more complicated and survival rates can decrease dramatically.
Whether you are concerned about unusual moles or have already been diagnosed with skin cancer, please schedule an appointment with us to discuss your options. You can reach us at 703-356-5111, or use the Contact Form to send us a message.
How Skin Cancer Forms
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States, and there are several factors that can contribute to the development of this disease. This includes sun exposure and genetics, among others.
At the very core, skin cancer is an uncontrollable growth of mutated skin cells. This occurs when a skin cell becomes mutated by UV radiation, or other factors. Typically, a damaged cell will simply die and will no longer divide – it’s the body’s natural defense against such situations. However, in some instances the mutated cell will not die, but will instead continue to divide, with the mutation passed on to the new cells.
These mutated skin cancer cells will eventually grow in a cluster that becomes a tumor. At this point, most types of skin cancer can still be treated effectively, with high rates of success.
However, if untreated, the cancerous cells may eventually reach the lymph nodes, which will pass the mutated cells to other parts of the body. In this way, the cancer will travel to other organs, where the damaged cells will continue to grow and create more tumors.
Diagnosing Skin Cancer
Skin cancer often appears in the form of irregularly-shaped moles or spots on the skin. These can be of various colors, and may even look like a raised bump on the skin.
If you’ve noticed any such spots, or moles that seemed to appear out of nowhere, it’s important to visit a dermatologist who can make an accurate diagnosis.
To catch skin cancer early, we encourage all of our patients to come in for an annual exam, where we carefully inspect your skin for early signs of skin cancer. An early diagnosis is key to a successful treatment of cancers like basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
Treating Skin Cancer
There are several options for addressing skin cancer, with the best course of action depending on the type of cancer you’ve been diagnosed with and how advanced it has become.
- Cancer Excision: In many cases, the best way to ensure the destruction of the skin cancer tumor is to surgically remove it. This is a very nuanced process that requires careful assessment of the tumor size and shape, and ensuring that the tumor tentacles have been removed.
Taking the Next Step with Skin Cancer Treatment
If you’ve noticed new or strange moles or lesions on your skin, please schedule an appointment with one of our providers, so that we can carefully assess the problem and provide you with an accurate diagnosis.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with skin cancer and would like a second opinion on the best course of treatment, please schedule a consultation as soon as possible.
You can contact us by calling 703-356-5111, or send us an email using the Contact Form.