Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells. It’s one of the most common forms of cancer, affecting more than a million people in the United States each year. It’s also highly curable, as long as you get the treatment you need early.
The epidermis, which is the top layer of your skin, provides protection for the lower layers of tissue. The cells in your epidermis are always turning over in an orderly fashion. Too much exposure to toxic chemicals, UVA rays, and/or UVB rays can damage the DNA in these cells, which causes problems with the way they grow and slough off. Instead of turning over like they should, the cells grow uncontrollably, creating a cancerous tumor.
Some of the symptoms of skin cancer may include:
Skin cancer is most common on the parts of your skin that receive the most sun exposure, which include your legs, hands, arms, chest, neck, face, and scalp. But, it can appear on any part of your body.
The treatment Dr. Piantanida recommends for skin cancer depends on the type of cancer and its extent. In most cases, skin cancer in its earlier stages can simply be removed during an outpatient procedure. The techniques Dr. Piantanida may use to remove cancerous lesions include:
In cases where skin cancer has already spread or where surgery isn’t possible, you may need radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
After you’ve had skin cancer once, you’re more likely to develop new cancerous lesions in the future. You need to watch your skin carefully and keep regular appointments with Dr. Piantanida. You should also avoid the use of tanning beds, as well as unprotected exposure to the sun, to prevent further damage to your skin.
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