Skin cancer is a common disease that causes abnormal growths on the dermis. The condition disrupts the body’s ability to control the normal development of skin cells, which allows these defective cells to proliferate. The majority of skin cancers will not metastasize, or spread, to other portions of the body or become life threatening. The disease can occur in all skin types regardless of the amount of melanin present. Because skin cancer generally develops on exposed skin where it is readily apparent, it is more likely to be diagnosed and treated in its initial stages. Skin cancer can be cured if it is detected and treated early.
Squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas are two of the most common types of skin cancer. Although more serious, melanoma is far less common. Basal carcinomas on the neck or head may first appear as a waxy, translucent bump or a pale patch of skin. In addition to a possible indentation, blood vessels may be visible in the center of the affected area. A carcinoma on the chest may look more like a flesh-colored lesion or a brownish scar. As the cancer spreads, it may ooze and become crusty or bleed if injured.
Squamous lesions may also develop as a lump on the skin. Unlike the smooth, pearly appearance of basal cell carcinoma, these lumps will have a rough surface. The cancer may also appear as a scaly, red patch of skin. While similar in appearance to a skin rash, these lesions grow instead of healing and fading. The head, neck, hands and arms are the most common locations for squamous cell carcinoma to appear.
Signs of melanoma include new spots or moles that change in size, shape or color. Look for a mole that has an irregular shape or dissimilar halves. The mole may also have an irregular, rough or blurred edge. Other signs may include an existing mole that oozes blood or other fluids, a sore that does not heal or tenderness and pain. Our medical professional should also check unusual pigmentation, redness or swelling that spreads to the surrounding skin.
While skin cancers typically develop in areas that are exposed to the sun, they also may occur in hidden areas. You should regularly examine your skin for any changes or new growths. If you find something suspicious, schedule an appointment at The Dermatology Office, with locations in Poplar Bluff and Paragould. We will discuss your medical history, including risk factors. Our experienced physician will conduct a thorough examination and perform any required tests.
Once we receive the results of the exam and tests, we will discuss your treatment options. Early treatment increases the potential for a positive outcome. Contact our office today to book your consultation to learn more.