One of the most common types of cancer in the United States is skin cancer, with some 2 million American diagnosed each year. Skin cancer is a malignant tumor of the skin, and while common, it can be just as lethal as any other form of cancer. It is also very curable, especially when it is caught early.
Skin cancers are often related to sun exposure; however, other factors such as genetics, immune system health, and overall health can play roles. Many people have many questions concerning skin cancer and what to do should they develop.
Many of the answers depend on the type of skin cancer. There are three types – melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Each develops differently and requires different types of treatments.
All of us should be on the look out for any potential symptoms or signs of skin cancer. Any unusual lesion, bump, spot, or mole that has grown or changed should be examined by a physician. This is especially important for those that may develop on the face that may persist for few weeks, because the facial area is a high risk area.
Should a dermatologist or physician determine that the suspicious spot is in fact cancer, it is important to have it removed and treated as soon as possible. The first treatment in the majority of skin cancers is removal. When the cancer is on the face, one of the best removal procedures is the Mohs technique. When performed by a specially trained physician, this technique can effectively remove the cancerous area, without sacrificing healthy surrounding tissues.
While any surgery will leave a scar, Mohs can reduce the size. However, many patients may need to undergo reconstructive surgery after a cancerous tumor or spot is removed.
Researchers and scientist are continually looking for new cancer drugs and ways to improve wound healing after surgery. There are several promising studies that look good to increase wound healing and better recovery.
Should you be concerned about a suspicious bump, mole, or lesion, you should contact your physician as soon as possible for a determination as to whether it is cancerous or not. If you do receive a diagnosis of skin cancer, your doctor should explain all of your treatment options and offer the best recommendations possible to ensure that you have the best possible chances for a full recovery.