Skin Cancer Screening & Treatment in South Miami
What are the main causes of skin cancer?
Skin cancer, which is simply an abnormal growth of your skin cells, is most commonly the result of excessive sun exposure. However, skin cancer could also result from other things, as it sometimes develops in areas that are not usually exposed to the sun.
Skin cancer occurs when the cells mutate (or change) and begin to multiply too quickly. This creates a mass of mutated cancer cells, beginning on your skin’s top layer.
Who is at risk for skin cancer?
Any of the following risk factors could contribute to developing skin cancer at some point over the course of your life. Speak with a dermatologist and undergo regular skin check-ups if you have:
- Fair skin/light colored skin
- A tendency to sunburn
- Living in a warm/sunny climate
- Having moles on your body
- Having precancerous skin lesions
- Being exposed to radiation
How do you identify skin cancer?
When performing a skin cancer self-exam, use the help of a mirror (preferably hand-held) to examine your face, scalp, neck, and ears. Then, look closely at all areas of your chest, trunk, and full arms and hands. Continue to work your way down your body, checking for any changes in the skin on your legs, feet, toes, and genital areas. Your dermatologist or a loved one can help you evaluate the skin on your back.
What are the first signs of skin cancer?
Things to look for while giving yourself a skin cancer screening include:
- Changes in your skin’s color in an area
- Changes in the shape of freckles or moles
- Large brown spot with small speckles inside
- Painful, itchy, or burning skin
Dark areas of the skin, especially in the following areas:
- Palms of your hands
- Bottom of your feet
- Inside your mouth
- Inside your nose
- Near or around genitals
Can skin cancer go away on its own?
While some skin cancers could potentially shrink or go away on their own over time, you should never ignore a suspicious skin growth or lesion. Visit your dermatologist to have any suspicious skin spots checked or if you want to learn more about preventing skin cancer. To get you started, here are some of the things you can do to prevent skin cancer from occurring to begin with:
- Preventing Skin Cancer
- Visit your dermatologist regularly and whenever you have a skin concern
- Perform regular skin self-exams
- Wear sunscreen any time you are outside
- Avoid sun exposure between 10am and 4pm (this is the time the sun is the strongest)
- Don’t use tanning beds
- Be careful when taking photosensitive/sun-sensitive medications (e.g., some malaria medications)
- Use protective covering and clothing
What happens if skin cancer goes untreated?
Schedule an appointment with a qualified dermatologist if you notice any signs of skin cancer. Your dermatologist will let you know whether any action should be taken. Changes in your skin may or may not indicate skin cancer, so it’s important to regularly speak with your dermatologist if you have skin changes.
Sometimes, your doctor might want to watch an area of your skin over time to look for any new changes. In those cases, be sure to schedule regular follow-up appointments and check in with your dermatologist if you notice any changes while performing self-checks at home. In other cases, your dermatologist may determine that your skin change is cancer-related. In those cases, your doctor will recommend treatment options or skin cancer procedures to treat the area or remove precancerous or cancerous cells.
What is the best treatment for skin cancer?
Fortunately, there are many treatments available today for skin cancer. The most important part of treating skin cancer is staying aware of your skin’s changes and visiting with a dermatologist regularly in order to recognize possible skin cancer as early as possible. Some of the many options for treating skin cancer with a dermatologist include:
- Mohs surgery
- Cryosurgery (freezing the skin cancer)
- Biological therapy
- Photodynamic therapy
- Radiation therapy
- Curettage and electrodesiccation
If you are experiencing symptoms of skin cancer or need a screening, visit Dr. Michael C. Margulies at our Miami, Florida dermatology office. We offer a comprehensive range of skincare treatments, including the latest clinical and cosmetic dermatology procedures. Our office is home to skilled dermatologists and licensed estheticians. Contact our office by calling 305.595.0393 or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment anytime.