Basal Cell Carcinoma
The most common type of skin cancer is Basal Cell Carcinoma. It is found in the epidermis, which is the outer most layer of skin. The normal appearance is a bump, usually resembling a mole, that appears red and sometimes waxy. They can be misdiagnosed due their mole-like shape. Occasionally the lesion may be open and sore like. Basal Cell Carcinoma is usually aggressive and slow growing, but does not normally spread to other tissues. This skin cancer can disfigure the area where it forms due to its dense nature. Sun usually causes this type of cancer.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Open sores and oozing scabs that may crust or bleed are common symptoms of Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Uncontrolled abnormal squamous cells rapidly grow creating a cancerous lesion. This aggressive and destructive skin cancer is formed in the epidermis and can spread to other tissues. Squamous Cell Carcinoma not only forms on skin that has had prolonged exposure to sun, but also on mucous membranes that have been exposed as well.
Treatment of Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Once Dr. Atkins identifies a suspicious lesion, a biopsy will be taken to be sent to a Dermapathology specialty lab. The Dermapathologist will then diagnose it as malignant or benign and determine the type of lesion. It can take up to two weeks to receive these results.
During your follow up visit, Dr. Atkins will discuss your results and set a treatment plan. The treatment varies from Cryotherapy, Topical solutions, Mohs surgery, and other proven methods. She will then set a protocol, such as supplements or at-home skin care products, for you to follow to prevent future cancerous lesions. A follow-up treatment will be made for 3, 6 or 12 months from your treatment to guarantee that the margins are clear and to prevent future lesions.
The most serious form of skin cancer is malignant melanoma. A multicolored mole, a new formation of an irregular brown/black mole or change in shape or color of an existing mole can be indicators of melanoma. People of color are especially at risk due to the lack of visibility. Moles that may be present for year can suddenly become malignant melanoma. These lesions are normally difficult to detect and are very dangerous due to the rate in which the cancerous cells multiply. The cause of melanoma is either from sun exposure or genetic predisposition. In advanced stages, it spreads to internal organs and bone. Melanoma can occur externally on skin, on the soles of feet, palms of hands, fingernails, and eyes.
Through either a shave or scratch method of biopsy, a Dermapathologist will diagnose the lesion and its severity. During a follow-up appointment, Dr. Atkins will discuss the results and create a treatment plan customized to the patient. Normally the lesion in question will be excised to the bottom of the growth until clear margins are reached. The tissue removed is sent to the specialty lab again to verify that all cancerous cells were removed. Depending on the location, a MOHS surgeon may perform this surgery to aesthetically remove the tissue without disfiguring the area.
We understand that the discussion of skin cancer can create fear and uncertainty. We are happy to walk this journey with you!
Please schedule online or call 678-213-2220 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Debra Atkins.