Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer affecting Americans today. More cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year than all other types of cancer combined. At her practice in Fullerton, California, board-certified dermatologist Kristen Aguirre, MD diagnoses, treats and removes skin cancer from men and women of all ages. If you’re concerned about skin cancer or have found an abnormal-looking mole, call or make an appointment online today.
Skin cancer is a disease where abnormal skin cells multiply uncontrollably. The most common forms of skin cancer are:
The different types of skin cancer are named for the affected cells. Basal cell carcinoma is the most prevalent form of the disease. Fortunately, when caught early, both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are easily treated and unlikely to spread to other parts of your body.
Melanoma, on the other hand, is more aggressive and more likely to spread throughout your body. However, when diagnosed early, they can be removed easily.
Actinic keratoses are precancerous lesions which have the potential to progress to squamous cell carcinoma.
The first step in diagnosing skin cancer is for you to be aware of the identifying characteristics of the disease and to examine your skin at home.
Melanoma skin cancer is identified by the ABCDEs::
A normal mole or freckle is small, brownish, and round. When a mole becomes cancerous, it may change shape or color, get larger, or have blurred poorly defined borders.
Basal cell carcinomas are characterized by growing, pearly bumps or ulcers that may bleed very easily. They are most commonly found on the face but can be located almost anywhere on the body.
Squamous cell carcinoma can look like a pink scaly bump or patch, a crusty scaly patch, or a large fast growing crater.
If you notice any strange moles or new growths, you should make an appointment with Dr. Aguirre. She examines your skin with advanced dermatoscopic technology and may take a sample of cells, either scraping from the top of the growth or with a small puncture. The sample is then analyzed for signs of cancerous cells.
Dr. Aguirre provides customized treatments and therapies to remove or destroy your skin cancer.
When possible, she performs excision surgeries to remove the growth. She’s also trained and experienced in performing Mohs surgery with advanced cosmetic reconstruction.
Mohs surgery is a delicate and careful technique where thin slivers of skin cancer are removed one at a time and individually examined for signs of cancerous cells. When the removed tissue doesn’t include cancer cells, Dr. Aguirre stops the surgery. This procedure reduces the trauma to and removal of healthy skin tissue, while carefully extracting all of the cancerous cells.
Dr. Aguirre may also suggest topical chemotherapy creams like 5-fluorouracil and imiquimod. Other cream medications like diclofenac and Picato® are often prescribed to treat actinic keratosis.
In some cases, radiation therapy is effective for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas that are large or in locations that are difficult to treat surgically.
Dr. Aguirre provides thorough consultations to determine the best treatment for your condition. Call or schedule an appointment online today for expert diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.