Skin Cancer in New Jersey
Education, Screening, and Treatment for Livingston, West Orange, and all of NJ
With more than 3.5 million cases diagnosed annually, skin cancer affects more people in the United States than all other cancers combined. According to the American Academy of Dermatology:
- 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime.
- Rates of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, are rising.
- Caucasians and men over age 50 are at greater risk of developing melanoma.
While skin cancer is common, it's also usually curable. Early detection with a skin cancer screening in New Jersey at Advanced Dermatology & Skin Care can greatly increase the success of treatment for patients in West Orange, Livingston, and beyond.
What is skin cancer?
Cancer that starts in your skin is known as skin cancer. Your skin contains three main types of cells: squamous cells, basal cells and melanocytes. Skin cancer occurs when errors, or mutations, occur in the DNA of these cells, causing them to multiply rapidly and form a tumor. The type of skin cell where this process first begins determines both the type of skin cancer and your treatment options.
What causes skin cancer?
Ultraviolet (UV) light is the number one cause of skin cancer. Much of the DNA damage in skin cells is caused by excessive exposure to UV radiation in sunlight and the lights used in tanning beds. This is why using sunscreens with SPFs of 30 or higher on a daily basis is your best tool for skin cancer prevention. Contrary to popular belief and misleading websites, SPF15 does not provide the same level of protection as SPF30!
Other risk factors may include fair skin, moles, family history of skin cancer or having a condition that weakens your immune system.
What does skin cancer look like?
There are three common types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Of these, basal and squamous cell are the most widespread. Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either basal cell or squamous cell cancer at least once.
Basal Cell Cancer-Strongly related to UV exposure, basal cell cancer is found mainly on parts of the body exposed to the sun, such as the head and neck. It typically appears as a pearly or waxy flat or raised lesion, or a non-healing scab or pimple.
When caught early, basal cell carcinoma is almost always curable.
Squamous Cell Cancer-Like basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer typically occurs on sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your face, ears and hands. It may appear as a firm, red nodule or a flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface. While rarely fatal, squamous cell carcinoma can be highly disfiguring if neglected and may spread if left untreated.
Melanomas-Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. It accounts for less than two percent of skin cancers, but causes the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.
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While melanomas can occur anywhere on the body, it most often starts on the neck and face or the chest and back (in men), on the legs (in women) and on the palms, soles or under the fingers or toenails (in people of darker skin types). When caught early, this type of skin cancer is almost always curable with melanoma treatment. Neglected or ignored, it is likely to spread to other parts of the body, where it can be very difficult to treat.
Melanoma may appear as a large irregular brownish spot; a mole that bleeds or changes in color, size or shape; or a small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, gray, blue or blue-black. Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips or toes or on mucous membranes lining your mouth, nose, vagina or anus can also be signs of melanoma.
What does skin cancer screening involve in Livingston, NJ?
Screening for skin cancer begins with a total body exam at our Livingston, New Jersey, practice. Approximately 30 minutes in duration, the total body exam involves a thorough inspection of every part of your skin while you lay comfortably on the exam table. From your scalp to inside your mouth to between your toes, our doctors will examine one body part at a time, looking for changes that are likely to be cancerous or pre-cancerous. They'll also address any concerns you may have and explain the subtle changes to look for in your skin that could potentially indicate skin cancer.
If a suspicious-looking lesion is found, a biopsy may be taken during your appointment for laboratory testing. In the event skin cancer is detected, additional tests may be performed to determine the extent (stage) of the skin cancer and most effective treatment options.
Annual skin exams are your best option for detecting skin cancer at its earliest stages. While they are recommended for anyone over the age of 21, they are especially important for people who are at higher risk of skin cancer.
What are my skin cancer treatment options?
Advanced Dermatology & Skin Care offers the safest and most advanced skin cancer treatments currently available for precancers, basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma cancers. These include:
- Mohs surgery
- Excisional surgery
- Dessication and Curettage
- Topical medications
Early intervention is the key to effective skin cancer treatment. If you think you have skin cancer, visit your dermatologist.