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Basal Cell Carcinoma

Skin Cancer and Mohs SurgeryBasal cell carcinomas (BCC) are the most common type of skin with more than 4 million cases diagnosed each year in the U.S.  There are several types of BCC and they can present as open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps or even scar-like areas on the skin.  Like most skin cancers, risk factors for developing basal cell carcinomas include fair skin, blond or red hair, blue or green eyes, history of sun exposure, and tanning bed use.  This type of skin cancer usually grows slowly and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. If caught early, appropriate treatment can be performed with a high cure rate.

If left untreated, they can continue to grow and possibly invade into and destroy surrounding tissue.  BCC usually develop on sun-exposed areas such as the head, neck and back of hands.  When this type of skin cancer is found on the head and neck, hands, or genitals, Mohs Micrographic Surgery (the patient could click this and it would direct them to the page about what is mohs surgery?)  is typically the treatment of choice offering the highest cure rate.


Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) are the second most common type of skin cancer.  These skin cancers also typically arise on sun-exposed areas presenting as scaly red patches, non-healing open sores or elevated growths.  They can be mistaken as a wart of scaly dry patch of skin. Risk factors for developing SCC include sun exposure, tanning bed use, fair skin types, as well as chronic skin infections, skin inflammation, and disease that compromise the immune system. Although SCC can spread to other parts of the body, with early diagnosis and treatment,  SCC is highly curable.  Treatment is similar to treatment with BCC.



Of the three most common skin cancers, Melanoma is the most serious and most deadly.  If caught early, melanoma has an excellent prognosis.  Melanomas can develop anywhere but most often occur on the chest and back in men and on the lower legs in women. The face and neck are also common locations for melanoma.  Melanoma originates in the melanocytes, which are pigment-producing cells of the skin, thus most melanomas appear dark brown or black, but can also appear blue, pink or even white. These lesions are usually not uniform in shape, border, color, or surface. If you have many moles, a history of dysplastic nevi, or a family history of melanoma, it is important to see your dermatologist for regular skin checks and perform monthly skin examinations at home.  For more information, go to http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/melanoma

Other rare tumors

Other rare tumors of the skin include atypical fibroxanthoma (AFX), microcystic adnexal carcinoma (MAC), sebaceous carcinoma, dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP), and Merkel cell carcinoma.  Although many of these tumors are best treated by Mohs micrographic surgery, others may be treated with standard excision or referral to another specialist.

Skin Cancer

Photo Credit: ACMS – MohsSurgery.org

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