Skin cancer affects more than 3.3 million Americans every year. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than instances of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, and colon combined. Board-certified dermatologist Omolara Olowoyeye, MD, MPH, of Radiance Dermatology, provides preventive care, evaluation, and treatment for skin cancer at her office in Bethesda, Maryland. Don’t think you’re immune to this potentially deadly disease. You should get screened for skin cancer or have suspicious lesions examined right away. Call the office or use the online tool to schedule your appointment.
Skin cancer is a growth on the skin that occurs when cells grow abnormally. There are several forms of skin cancer, including:
The most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma sits in the deepest layers of your skin and has symptoms that include:
Sores that heal and re-open
Pearly white bumps
Flat scaly scars with a waxy appearance
Basal cell carcinoma is quite treatable when detected early.
This is the second most common form of skin cancer. Symptoms include:
Flat sores with a scaly crust
A sore or raised area that’s new or at the site of an old scar
A firm red nodule
Squamous cell carcinoma often develops from precancerous lesions known as actinic keratoses. Dr. Olowoyeye can detect actinic keratoses during your regular skin check and prevent the cancer from developing altogether, but squamous cell carcinoma is quite treatable when found early.
Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer. It accounts for less than 1% of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths. Melanoma forms in the melanin-producing cells, in the bottom-most layers of your skin. This serious cancer often grows inside existing moles, making them asymmetrical with irregular borders. If you notice a mole that seems to have changed color or size, this is also a sign of melanoma.
Unlike basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma spreads quickly to other parts of your body, which is what makes it so dangerous.
Anyone can develop skin cancer, but certain risk factors make it more likely. Skin cancer may run in your family. You may also be at risk if you have many moles or if you have fair skin or a light complexion. You’re also more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer if you’ve done indoor tanning or if you experienced sunburns as a child.
Your personal health history also influences your skin cancer risk. If you have a weakened immune system or a personal history of skin cancer, you’re at greater risk than the average person.
Regular daily use of sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher greatly reduces your risk of skin cancer. Wearing sunglasses, a hat, and clothes that cover exposed skin is also important, especially if you plan to spend a long time outdoors.
Routine annual skin exams by a certified dermatologist like Dr. Olowoyeye are the most proven method in the early detection of skin cancer. The earlier skin cancer is treated, the better your chance of a full recovery.
Your skin cancer treatment is customized to the severity of your case and the type of cancer you have. For most cases of basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma, Dr. Olowoyeye may recommend:
Surgical excision, including Mohs surgery
Curettage and desiccation
Liquid nitrogen freezing
Prescription medicated creams
Treatment for melanoma includes removal of any cancerous growths and, if the cancer has spread, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Schedule your full body check and skin cancer evaluation at Radiance Dermatology by calling the office or through the online booking agent.