Skin cancer is extremely common. In fact, more Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer than all other cancers combined. If you have a personal or family history of skin cancer or have an abnormal mole or growth on your skin, you can count on expert care from Megan Brelsford, DO, a board-certified dermatologist practicing at Verum Cutis Dermatology in Ashburn, Virginia. Don’t delay making an appointment, call or schedule a consultation online today.
Skin cancer is abnormal cell growth. Among the primary signs of skin cancer are changes to your skin like new or changing moles. For example, most people know that if a mole changes shape, color, or texture that you should seek medical attention.
Skin cancer is often identified by the ABCDEs:
Although the ABCDEs can typically indicate melanoma, the other forms of skin cancer have additional distinguishing characteristics. Basal cell carcinoma may appear as a pimple, bump, a rough red patch, or scar tissue. Squamous cell carcinoma typically appears as a crusted, red nodule on the skin.
The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Each form of cancer is named for the cell type it affects.
This form of cancer typically affects areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun like the face, shoulders, arms, and torso. It doesn’t usually spread, but it can cause damage to the surrounding cells.
This type of skin cancer affects the uppermost layers of the skin and doesn’t often spread deeper into the body or affect other organs or tissues.
Melanoma is the most common and most dangerous form of skin cancer. It can be treated easily if caught in its early stages, but this form of cancer spreads easily and quickly to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.
If you have a mole that demonstrates any of the ABCDEs of skin cancer or other irregularities in your skin, you should make an appointment for a comprehensive skin exam with Dr. Brelsford as soon as possible. If you have a personal or family history of skin cancer, you should have regular screenings to monitor your skin so that if any abnormalities arise, Dr. Brelsford can treat them immediately.
If Dr. Brelsford suspects skin cancer, she may order a biopsy to test the growth of cancerous cells. It is also possible that she may remove the mole.
Mole removal is a straightforward, outpatient procedure. Dr. Brelsford injects a local anesthetic and uses a scalpel or similar tool to scoop out the mole. She typically closes the incision with a stitch.