Why Old & New Moles Should Be Routinely Examined

If you are an individual who notices new growths of moles frequently due to natural disposition, genetics or even sun exposure, it is important to keep an eye on such developments on your skin. Even old moles that were once examined by a dermatologist, should be re-examined annually for changes in shape, size, texture and elevation.

While moles themselves result from the growth of pigment cells called melanocytes which grow in clusters. Common moles are typically 5 mm wide in a round or oval shape, and have a smooth surface. Common moles can evolve into cancerous moles called melanoma. Melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer. Individuals with over 50 moles are at increased risk for developing this type of cancer.

Things to Watch Out For

If your mole changes in color, size, texture, height or the skin’s surface becomes dry or scaly, you should let your doctor know. If the mole becomes hardened or lumpy, starts to itch or bleeds or oozes, those are also warning signs of an evolving mole.

Dysplastic Nevus is a Mole that Looks Different from a Common One

If your mole is larger than 5 mm, and is a mixture of various colors including pink and dark brown you should have your dermatologist examine your skin. This type of mole is called dysplastic nevus.

In the event, your evaluation or examination lead your doctor to assess that the mole should be removed, a biopsy will be performed.

Leading Causes of Skin Cancer

You may be confronted with early warning signs of skin cancer and be completely unaware. You may even know someone who has been personally affected by skin cancer. You may have a loved one who is struggling with it presently. For all these reasons and more, it is essential to identify the leading causes of skin cancer to be aware and able to prevent it from developing.

Most Common Source of Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer is caused primarily by the UV rays of the sun. Excessive exposure to the sun without protection can cause skin cancer. Ultraviolet radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer.

Not only do UV rays pose a significant risk of skin cancer, but they can be equally dangerous to the health of one’s eyes. Ultraviolet A and B rays can affect the eyes and such exposure can lead to cataracts and even eyelid cancer on the surrounding skin. This is why our dermatologic skin cancer surgeons and board-certified dermatologists urge our patients to limit their sun exposure and as a lifestyle choice. The less exposure the better.

Other Causes of Skin Cancer & Harmful Tumors

Tanning beds and their associated UV lights used are also equally harmful, despite the fact many choose to use tanning beds during the seasonal winter months. In addition, exposure to x-rays as well as scars and other toxic chemicals can also influence and cause skin cancer to develop. Moles can become abnormal and also evolve into cancerous growths. We recommend routine skin examinations and mole screenings as well.

If you suspect you have skin cancer or any dangerous growths you are concerned about, be sure to make an appointment with a dermatologist at Skin and Cancer Institute for prompt medical attention and treatment.

Certified Skin Care with Dermatologists in Phoenix

Residents in Phoenix, Arizona can benefit from cosmetic, laser and surgical procedures offered by our board-certified dermatologists. From skin issues such as psoriasis, eczema, rosacea to the treatment and removal of skin cancerous tumors, our doctors offer services tailored to each patient’s unique needs.

If you live in Phoenix, it is very likely that you have sun exposure that may be harmful, especially if your skin is not protected by gear or SPF. The summer months with high heat temperatures doesn’t help either. Currently, the month of September has seen high temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. This is very dangerous heat and sun exposure to residents of Phoenix. Many patients find themselves being at risk for skin cancer or precancerous skin lesions as well as other harmful growths that evolve if in the sun for lengthy periods of time.

Skin Cancer Variations

Basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, merkel cell carcinoma and sebaceous carcinoma are types of skin cancer treated by board-certified dermatologists. Each type of carcinoma spreads and affects the body differently. For example, merkel cell carcinoma can affect nerve endings and thereby infiltrate the lymph nodes, brain, bones, and lungs. Melanoma by contrast, is the result of a pigmentation mutation called melanin. The cells can mutate causing skin cancer.

Our dermatologists and skin cancer surgeons can help alleviate your concerns. Examination and detection are very important to your timely treatment.

What Changes To Watch Out For In Your Skin

Sun exposure can create and expand the development of cancerous cells. Since the sun’s UV light causes damage to the skin and eyes, there are warning signs to be on the lookout for. Click here to learn more about skin cancer, the removal methods, the types of cancer cells and more.

Sun exposure can cause benign tumors. If you notice freckles, yellow discoloration, pigmentation that is botchy or patchy, or dilated blood vessels under the skin, you may want to be seen by a board-certified dermatologist. Skin lesions can also develop in various forms prior to turning into full blown skin cancer. Such precancerous skin lesions include actinic keratosis which is typically found on the face, ears, scalp, arms and legs.

Surgical Dermatologists Remove Pre-cancerous Lesions & Skin Cancer

Our team of dermatologic surgeons, nurses, and team are experienced to diagnose, treat and surgically remove any tumors, pre-cancerous skin lesions, dangerous or malignant moles, as well as any other unwanted or potentially worrisome growths on the skin. Various types of skin cancer can evolve or develop on different regions of the body and skin. Prior to the development of skin cancer, often times a malignant pre-cancerous lesion may be present. This is why seeing a board-certified dermatologist and skin can surgeon regularly can be beneficial in prevention and early detection.

If you notice your skin is prone to new growths, some of which change in size or shape, are elevated or raised, you should consider consulting with a dermatologist at LA Laser Center. We offer various techniques and removal recommendations depending on the type of cancer or lesion present, size, location and nature of the tumor or malignancy. For instance, for skin cancers or tumors present on the face, nose, forehead or cheeks, we would probably select the Mohs micrographic surgery technique for removal. If the tumor is present somewhere on the body and the risk for scarring is minimal, a different removal method may be selected. Call us for your consultation today.

The Troubling Signs of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is not necessarily a byproduct of age. Skin cancer is due to a combination of factors such as exposure to the sun, the environment, lack of health precautions and safety and more. Various types of skin cancer exist and with each one, a different threat level of harm is present.

Basal cell carcinoma, for instance, can be present in the form of a scar, nodule, bump, patch or growth that oozes or is elevated. Due to excessive exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, these tumors can be found in any part of the body. Unlike other tumors, basal cell carcinoma rarely spreads to the rest of the body.

Merkel cell carcinoma is a bit more dangerous because it can affect the lymph nodes and nerves. It appears in flesh or redish nodules on the skin and is most often present on the face, head and neck. To detect it, doctors use a special test called sentinel node biopsy.

Melanoma, in comparison, is a result of a mutation in the pigmentation in the skin which can result from moles or clusters of moles. Various types of melanoma exist, each with their own respective warning signs.

Click here to learn more about skin cancer, its prevention and early detection recommendations.

Is Mohs Surgery the Best Treatment for Melanoma Removal?

For Americans, skin cancer is the most common form of carcinoma. Out of the three main forms of skin cancer — basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma — melanoma is the worst. It affects deeper layers of skin instead of resting at the surface, as well as having the dangerous ability to spread to other areas in the body quickly.

Fortunately, melanoma is one of the rarest forms of skin cancer. There are several types of melanoma which have different warning signs and symptoms. Superficial spreading melanoma, lentigo maligna melanoma, acral lentiginous melanoma and nodular melanoma are the four main types of this rare form of skin cancer. An effective treatment to fight melanoma is Mohs micrographic surgery. It wasn’t always so effective, though. In its earlier times, Mohs surgery used to require a special chemical paste that would be applied to the skin. Due to the pain it would cause patients as well as sometimes taking days to complete the process, some surgeons refrained from using Mohs surgery. Now, surgeons simply apply local anesthetic and use microscopic excisions on cancerous cells. It is highly effective and less destructive to healthy tissue. The procedure can be completed in a day. Many dermatologists and skin cancer specialists in Los Angeles perform this surgery because of its strategic effectiveness at success.

At LA Laser Center our board-certified dermatologists and skin cancer surgeons specialize in Mohs micrographic surgery. We have the experience and skill necessary to remove such destructive and cancerous tissue before it spreads if our patient comes in as soon as possible. It is our effort to preserve as much healthy tissue as is possible and to ensure a healthy and pleasant appearance of the skin, after the removal occurs. Time is of the essence for such skin cancer treatments.

Steps During Mohs Micrographic Skin Cancer Removal Surgery

Unlike a few other surgical procedures for skin cancer, Mohs micrographic surgery is fast, effective, and easy to understand. Here are the four main stages which occur during Mohs Micrographic surgery which removes cancerous skin tissue.

Stage 1: Removing Cancerous Tissue

The surgeon who performs Mohs surgery removes any cancer that is visible on the skin’s surface. A thin layer of extra tissue is cut out as well. This stage of surgery is complete in just a few minutes.

Stage 2: Reviewing the Removed Tissue

The separated skin is cut into segments to help pinpoint the cancer’s location. It is then stained to highlight where the cancerous cells are, and marked on an elaborate diagram. The removed skin is subjected to freezing on a cryostat.

Outside layers are sliced away, then carefully placed on slides for further examination. Mohs map is used at this time to identify and label any cancerous tissue. If detected, all cancer cells are removed.

As you can see, stage 2 is the longest part of Mohs surgery. It can take more than an hour for the entire process to be completed. Fortunately, there will be less tissue to analyze after each repetition of the procedure.

Stage 3: Repeating Until Finished

Stages 1 and 2 are repeated until no cancerous tissue remains.

Stage 4: Repairing the Skin

The area that was operated on is now ready to begin its natural healing process.

Click here to learn more about skin cancer in general, mole screenings, the types of cancer, pre-cancerous lesions and the levels of risk associated with each.