Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer Treatment
in VILLANOVA & COLLEGEVILLE

More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined! If you are one of the 20% of Americans who are diagnosed with skin cancer, take heart in knowing that it is also the most treatable of all cancers. With early diagnosis and a wide variety of treatment options available, most skin cancers have become “nuisance-cancers;” however, that does not mean that treatment isn’t necessary. The lovers of sun, outdoor activities and tanning booths are particularly prone to developing skin cancer despite the general increase use of SPF and protective clothing.

At Bryn Mawr Dermatology, we offer skin cancer detection and treatment in Villanova and Collegeville from an experienced team of specialists. When you visit our offices to regain your skin health, you can expect attentive care from a knowledgeable and welcoming team who are committed to your wellness.

WHO GETS SKIN CANCER?

The troubling fact is that anyone can develop skin cancer. No matter your skin tone, genetic history, age, or sun-protection habits you could become a statistic. We have diagnosed Melanomas on teenagers and treated Basal Cell Carcinomas on African Americans. To schedule a Skin Cancer Screening, contact our dermatologists today at 610.525.7800!

SKIN CANCER - EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES

Whether you call it a “Skin Cancer Screening,” “Annual Skin Exam,” or “Full Body Check,” you should definitely schedule one at least once a year if you are 30 or older. We recommend more frequent checks for patients with a personal or familial skin cancer history, or other modifying factors. There are often highly visible signs of developing cancerous lesions, so keeping an eye on your birthday suit is the first step in early detection. However, many spots that appear suspicious to the average Joe are completely benign, and, on the flip side, many of the lesions that are actually of medical concern get ignored by the layman.

A visit to your trusted Dermatologist for your once-a-year full body examination is as essential to maintaining your health as your annual visit to your Primary Care Physician or Gynecologist. Our physicians and PAs are extraordinarily equipped to visually identify spots that could potentially be cancerous, and have the ability to quickly take a sample of suspicious growths to get laboratory confirmation of the diagnosis within a couple of weeks. We know that bearing it all in the name of health can be daunting, but be assured that our specialists are devoted to patient comfort and education during the diagnosis and treatment planning process.

Other than preventing skin cancer, the best way to keep your skin healthy is to catch malignancies in their developing stages. Activating your skin cancer prevention plan by visiting Bryn Mawr Dermatology is the first step.

DID YOU KNOW SKIN CANCER CAN DEVELOP WHERE THE SUN DOESN’T SHINE?

That’s right, we’ve identified and treated skin cancer that has developed in between toes, in a thick head of hair, and on areas that are almost always covered by underwear. While it is true that most skin cancers develop at least in part due to chronic UV exposure over many years, it is possible to develop malignant lesions anywhere you have dermal cells. It may surprise you to know that this includes inside the mouth, on the retina, beneath finger and toenails, and on genitalia.

At Bryn Mawr Dermatology, we do our part to detect suspicious skin changes on all external body parts during our standard Skin Cancer Screening. During the visit we will ask you to remove as much of your clothing as you are comfortable with in addition to any accessories that obstruct the skin. You will be given a clean robe to slip into for modesty. The medical provider will then systematically search your skin to identify any spots that don’t belong.

Since we are not equipped to observe internal or obscured structures, we recommend that you make sure your dentist checks for skin cancers in the mouth, your hairdresser be alert for changes on your scalp, your ophthalmologist observe your retinas, and your gynecologist to check internal genital skin. We also recommend that you yourself do monthly skin checks; and for good reason, it is very common that patients are the ones to identify a suspicious spot between annual Skin Cancer Screenings. To help patients understand the common signs of skin cancer, we offer the following easy-to-remember guide.

THE ABC’S OF SKIN CANCER

If the two halves of the mole do not mirror each other, they are asymmetrical. This is an indicator of a cancerous lesion.

Moles whose edges appear to fade or spread into the soft tissue. These blurred or soft edges can be a red flag.

Color that is not uniform throughout the mole. If the color changes from light to dark and appears mottled, it may be malignant.

Diameter is larger than 6mm. This is commonly compared to the size of a pencil eraser.

Evolving size, shape, or color. Changes in these factors are a good sign of a cancerous mole. Benign moles are consistent in their borders and width, while a dangerous mole is a shape-shifter and may present with any of the above irregularities.

SKIN CANCER PREVENTION

We cannot say enough about protecting your skin from the sun. From the moment you are born, your skin is subject to unhealthy changes caused by exposure to UltraViolet Radiation. Most parents are aware of this, and douse their children in sunscreen any time they plan on an outdoor excursion. And while this is a great start to prevent sun damage including skin cancer and the signs of aging, most peoples’ habits are not as thorough as we recommend. Here are ways to avoid common mistakes people make when protecting their skin:
  • Put sunscreen on sun exposed areas EVERY DAY – chronic exposures like walking the dog, going in and out of stores, and driving all contribute to skin damage accumulation
  • Don’t forget yourself – parents are usually good about protecting their kids, but will often ignore their own needs
  • Reapply – it is recommended that you reapply sunscreen (or seek shade) after no more than 2 hours
  • Use enough – the recommended amount of sunscreen to adequately protect your body is 1oz (based on an average adult body), that’s enough to fill a shot glass!
  • Be picky with your sunscreen – not all SPF is created equal. Make sure to look for active ingredients that create broad spectrum protection and products that have a sun protection factor of at least 30.
  • Don’t give up – one bad burn, your teens, or (gasp!!) a trip to the tanning booth, does not make you a lost cause

TYPES OF SKIN CANCER: MELANOMA, BASAL CELL, AND SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA

The types of skin cancer are differentiated by where they originate. Basal cells can be found deep within the layers of the skin, while squamous cells are located on the surface of the soft tissue, amongst other areas of the body and even around organs. Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, affects the cells between the basal and squamous cells, called melanocytes. Melanocytes are the cells of your body that produce melanin, the substance responsible for pigmentation. That is why lesions that change color are highly suspect.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer and is easily treated, as it’s not likely the cancerous cells in these cases will spread throughout the body.

Squamous cell carcinoma has a minimally higher risk of spreading, especially if the lesion is quite large, but cancer with the most significant risk of wide-spread harm is melanoma.

Melanoma, while rare, is surprisingly deadly. This is because melanoma tends to metastasize quickly, spreading to other vital organs and affecting overall health. Studies have concluded that, compared with stage I melanoma patients treated within 30 days of being biopsied, those treated more than 119 days after biopsy have a 41 percent higher risk of dying from the disease.

Skin Cancer Treatment
IN VILLANOVA & COLLEGEVILLE

For a skin cancer screening in Villanova or Collegeville or to learn more about your options for removal of a cancerous lesion, contact us today.

Get started today by calling our dermatology team at 610.525.7800 or easily book an appointment by clicking the Schedule Now button at the top of the page. We look forward to caring for you!