Never Underestimate “The Other Skin Cancers”
Just because Melanoma claims the title of the most serious skin cancer doesn’t mean you should overlook – or even underestimate – the other types of skin cancer.
The fact is, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) aren’t as aggressive or life-threatening as melanoma, but they do affect far more people. To put it into perspective: about 3.6 million cases of BCC are diagnosed every year. Add in SCC at a rate of 1.6 million per year and skin cancer becomes the most common form of cancer in the U.S. The incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer has risen 77% since 1994.
So what are the chances you will develop skin cancer? One in five Americans will develop at least one skin cancer by age 70.
Not only do these “other cancers” occur frequently, but they can also cause significant skin damage and even disfigurement if allowed to grow. The ONLY way to control the damage is to seek early diagnosis and treatment from a skin cancer expert, like the board-certified physicians at Midwest Dermatology.
Same Cause Different Signals
Exposure to the sun’s Ultraviolet (UV) light is responsible for about 90 percent of BCC’s and SCC’s (not to mention the majority of melanomas).
The very same conditions tagged as responsible for rising rates of melanoma also result in increasing rates of BCC’s and SCC’s. When the causes are so similar, it can be confusing to distinguish between the conditions. Rather than watching moles, here’s how you can spot basal or squamous cell cancers:
- BCC’s and SCC’s don’t have the classic warning signs (the abcde’s) of skin cancer. Unlike melanomas that arise from a mole, they do not change color. There are not defined edges that become notched. And size is not an indicator for these tricky cancers. They can be any size.
- BCC’s and SCC’s can look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, scars or growths with slightly elevated, rolled edges and/or a central indentation.
- BCC’s usually grow and spread very slowly.
- SCC’s can grow quickly over months, or slowly over years.
The good news about BCC’s and SCC’s is that, because they are less likely to spread, they are easier to treat. Even SCC’s that spread more rapidly can be effectively treated as long as they are diagnosed reasonably early. At Midwest Dermatology our physicians specialize in the treatment of skin cancer using:
- Mohs Surgery – Advanced technique for the removal of skin cancer while viewed under a microscope. Tissue is removed in small segments and the edges examined for presence of skin cancer. Once no cancer cells remain, your Midwest Dermatology surgeon knows the cancer is completely removed.
- Surgical Excision – the tumor is cut from the skin and followed up with routine pathology to ensure the cancer has been fully removed.
- Cryosurgery and Electrodessication – Physicians can sometimes freeze very early skin cancers or use a mild electric current to “burn” the lesion and then remove the tissue using surgical instruments.
We Take Skin Cancer Seriously
Midwest Dermatology was the first practice in Nebraska to offer Mohs surgery nearly fifty years ago and continues to be a leader in the field. Our physicians have extraordinary experience and the highest levels of training. Dr. Parker is a Mohs Fellow, Dr. Papenfuss has completed advanced training, Dr. Madson recently achieved board certification in not just dermatology but Mohs surgery, and Drs. Darling is triple board certified in dermatology, dermatopathology and now in Mohs surgery.
Basal Cell and Squamous Cell cancers are very common. They both can be effectively treated and cured using advanced treatment available at Midwest Dermatology. Both diseases need to be treated immediately to avoid permanent skin damage and disfigurement.
Make an appointment today for an annual skin cancer screening with any of our four pyhsicians. WE HAVE OPENED NEW APPOINTMENTS AT SEVERAL OMAHA AREA OFFICE LOCATIONS TO HELP PATIENTS GET AN APPOINTMENT FOR SKIN CANCERS AND FULL BODY SKIN CHECKS. Take advantage of this special opportunity and have your skin checked now. Call (402) 933-0800 or take advantage of our on-line scheduling option, available to you 24/7 at midwestderm.com/appointments.
Don’t wait to schedule your full body skin exam. We have expanded our schedule to make sure you can get an exam. Openings are now available with selected physicians in June. Call (402) 933-0800 or take advantage of online booking at midwestderm.com/appointments.