In order to detect skin cancer, dermatology and skin cancer specialists rely on patients to follow a number of steps, which include avoiding sun exposure, scheduling regular exams at a dermatologist clinic and performing frequent self-exams to detect any changes in the skin. Hopefully, patients who follow these tips will be able to prevent skin cancer, or at least catch it in an early enough stage that it can be successfully treated. However, with one in five developing skin cancer during their lifetimes, even people who wear sunscreen religiously may notice a worrisome change in their skin. So, what should you do if you find a potential sign of skin cancer? Read on to learn about the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer below.
If you believe you may have skin cancer, you should first schedule an appointment with one of the dermatology and skin cancer specialists in your area. During this appointment, the dermatologist specialist will examine any growths, moles and dry patches on your body, potentially using a tool called a dermoscope to illuminate and magnify areas for better analysis. If your dermatologist discovers anything that could be cancerous, they will remove it or part of it with a scalpel or other tool. This process is called a biopsy and should cause little discomfort. Once the sample taken in the biopsy is analyzed, your doctor will be able to determine if you have skin cancer.
Treatment for Skin Cancer
Skin cancer treatments depend on the type of skin cancer, where it appears on the body, its aggression, the stage it is in, and the patient’s overall health. In many cases, you will likely undergo a type of surgical removal, in which the cancerous cells and some healthy skin are both excised. However, dermatology and skin cancer specialists may also use chemotherapy, light treatments, radiation, cryosurgery (which freezes and destroys the skin) or immunotherapy (which uses the body’s own immune system to target a specific area). Any questions and concerns about the type of treatment recommended for your case should be discussed with your dermatologist.
While discovering that you have skin cancer and undergoing treatment can be frightening, the outlook is often positive: if discovered and treated early, even melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, has a high likelihood of being cured. If you have noticed a change in your skin that may be cancerous, don’t panic: simply schedule an appointment with your dermatologist as soon as possible. Research more like this.