Skin Cancer

Elizabeth Piantanida, MD -  - Board Certified Dermatologist

Skin MD Colorado

Elizabeth Piantanida, MD

Board Certified Dermatologist located in Colorado Springs, CO

Skin Cancer Specialist
Skin cancer is a dangerous condition that’s typically the result of overexposure to the sun. When you have skin cancer, you need prompt treatment to make sure the cancer doesn’t spread. Dr. Elizabeth Piantanida offers diagnosis and treatment at Skin MD Colorado in Colorado Springs, Colorado. To get that prompt treatment, book an appointment online or call the office today.

Skin Cancer Q & A

by Elizabeth Piantanida, MD

What is skin cancer?

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.

What causes skin cancer?

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.

What are the symptoms of skin cancer?

Some of the symptoms of skin cancer may include:

  • A mole that’s larger than a quarter-inch or grows suddenly
  • Changes in the color of an existing mole
  • A growth with jagged or blurry edges
  • An asymmetrical growth
  • A growth that bleeds, crusts, or changes over time

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.

How do you treat skin cancer?

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:

  • Mohs surgery
  • Laser therapy
  • Freezing with liquid nitrogen
  • Excisional surgery

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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