Approximately 1,000,000 new skin cancers are diagnosed in the United States each year. This represents the most common type of cancer affecting any single organ of the body, and constitutes roughly 20% of all cancers in men and over 10% of all cancers in women. With early and appropriate treatment, 95% of these cancers will be cured. Approximately 8,500 deaths are attributed to complications from skin cancers each year.
Most skin cancers appear after the fourth decade of life, and very few people take preventive measures until the first cancer occurs. Many of us are not concerned about sun exposure during childhood and adolescence, even though this constitutes a substantial amount of the total cancer-causing sun exposure received in a lifetime. The feeling of well-being and enjoyment that we have while in the sun must be tempered with certain precautions. Other causes of skin cancers include exposure to x-ray radiation for the treatment of a variety of dermatologic conditions including acne vulgaris. Also, the ingestion of arsenical compounds has been associated with the development of skin cancers.
The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, which has virtually no tendency to metastasize. The complications, however, include gradual enlargement, penetration into cartilage, bone, muscle, and nerve tissue, ulceration, as well as bleeding.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer. This type of skin cancer has the potential to spread to other parts of the body, usually after many months without treatment. Squamous cell carcinoma can appear in an old burn scar, areas of repeated irritation, and non-healing wounds.
Skin cancers do not cause pain or other symptoms unless the tumor has either invaded underlying tissue or led to an ulceration. When skin cancer reappears near an area of prior treatment, it may indicate either a recurrence or the development of a new cancer. A person with one cancer is more likely to develop others. There is approximately a 22% chance of developing a future skin cancer in patients who have had one cancer within the last year and a half. Those who develop skin cancer at an earlier age are more likely to develop additional skin cancers at a later age.
First, a biopsy is performed to establish the diagnosis. Selecting a specific treatment for a particular skin cancer depends on the type of tumor, location, size, depth of tissue invasion, and other medical factors. All methods of cancer treatment require destruction of the cancer cells. A particular method of treatment is selected which will give the best results in terms of removal of the tumor as well as cosmetic appearance… Treatment may include one of the following:
Once your skin cancer has been treated it is imperative that you maintain proper follow-up and surveillance since having one skin cancer increases your risk of obtaining future skin cancers. Sun protection and regular skin exams will help us diagnose skin cancers for people in long beach at their earliest stages when they can be optimally treated.