Skin cancer is the most frequently occurring type of cancer, and this potentially fatal condition affects one million patients in the United States each year. Fortunately, skin cancer is often curable when detected early. Dr. David L. Graham at Silver Leaf Dermatology helps Edmond and Enid, Oklahoma, area patients with all types of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Thanks to his training and experience in modified Mohs surgery, a special skin cancer removal technique designed to spare normal tissue and increase surgical precision, Dr. Graham can usually perform challenging skin cancer removals in the office.
Skin Cancer Q & A
What is basal cell carcinoma?
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer and occurs because of overexposure to UVB radiation, which comes from the sun and other sources. Basal cell carcinoma can appear as:
- A small pink or white bump
- A mole-like growth with white edges
- A sore that breaks open and heals repeatedly
- A flat scar that looks wax-like
Most basal cell carcinomas are on your face or neck, as these areas get the most sun exposure. Dr. Graham performs a biopsy to diagnose basal cell carcinoma.
What is squamous cell carcinoma?
Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that occurs on the skin’s surface. It can develop on any part of the body but is most commonly seen on the face, ears, hands, and scalp and usually appears as flat patches, typically brown or red.
Squamous cell carcinoma can develop in anyone but is most common in patients with fair skin and in those who have a history of excess sun exposure. It usually occurs in middle-aged or senior-aged patients. Dr. Graham diagnoses squamous cell carcinoma through biopsy.
What is melanoma?
Melanoma may be the least common of the skin cancers but can cause the most damage. This type of skin cancer is most commonly seen in young adults with a history of significant UV exposure, especially if that exposure came from indoor tanning.
Melanoma usually appears as a brown or black spot and can grow within an existing birthmark. Dr. Graham diagnoses melanoma first through a skin exam, often with epiluminescence microscopy a using hand held microscope, and then confirming the diagnosis with a biopsy.
How does the doctor treat skin cancer?
Dr. Graham offers a variety of methods to treat your skin cancer. Depending on the specifics of your case, he may suggest the following:
- Excision removes the tumor and closes the healthy skin around it
- Prescription topical creams which are applied daily at home
- Curettage and desiccation to remove your tumor and send an electric current into the cancerous tissue
- Cryosurgery: cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen to freeze off the tumor
- Radiation for patients unable to undergo any of the above procedures
Dr. Graham also performs a modified type of Mohs surgery on large tumors or tumors in delicate areas.
Concerned about skin cancer? Taking quick action can make all the difference; contact us today.