Skin cancer, which is the most prevalent form of cancer in the United States and affects one in five Americans during their lifetime, occurs when there is an irregular growth of skin cells. Most cases of skin cancer are a result of exposure to ultraviolet rays (either from the sun or tanning beds).
People with a personal or family history of skin cancer, people with skin that burns or freckles easily, blue or green eyes and blond or red hair are often the most susceptible. However, early-stage skin cancer is nearly always curable – which is why early detection, early diagnosis – and early treatment — of skin cancer through annual cancer screenings is of critical importance.
Skin cancer typically presents in three different forms: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma:
Basal cell carcinoma: The most common and mildest form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma affects basal cells in the skin which are located on the deepest layer of the epidermis, and are more common on sun-exposed areas of the skin (but can be found anywhere on the body.) They are characterized by a small red patch or growth, or abnormal lesions/changes in the skin that look like open sores and won’t heal, and may occasionally bleed. Basal cell carcinoma should be treated immediately, and with proper treatment has a very high cure rate.
Squamous cell carcinoma: The second most common form of skin cancer (accounting for approximately 15 percent of all skin cancers) squamous cell carcinoma affects squamous cells in the skin and occurs on the upper layers of the epidermis. Squamous cell skin cancers most commonly appear on parts of the body frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, ears, lips, and neck. Some of the signs that squamous cells in the skin have begun to grow out of control and have become cancerous include an area that’s become rough, scaly, thickened and/or wart-like, or a skin sore that doesn’t heal over time. When found early and treated properly, most cases of squamous cell carcinoma can be cured and are easily and successfully treated with current therapies.
Melanoma: Known as the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma occurs when damaged skin cells begin to mutate and often occurs as a result of intense UV light exposure (either from the sun or tanning beds) that directly affect the melanin-producing skin cells in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanoma usually appears as a black or brown mole, but can look skin-colored, blue, purple or red as well. Melanoma can develop within a mole that already exists on your skin or can appear suddenly as a dark spot that looks different from others on your skin. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial – when diagnosed and treated early, melanoma is highly curable. However, some types of melanoma tend to be more aggressive and, if left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body, making it much more difficult to treat than early stages of the disease.
The key to treating any type of skin cancer is early diagnosis and treatment. It is very important to watch for any signs of skin cancer, which can include a new mole, an unusual growth, or sores, bumps, scaly patches or dark spots that develop and don’t go away. In addition, annual skin cancer screenings by a board-certified dermatologist are key. Dr. Barnett has many years of experience in thoroughly checking your skin from head to toe for signs of suspicious moles and growths, and can effectively detect whether further testing and treatment is needed.
If you or a loved one is in need of skin cancer treatment, Atlanta Skin Wellness Center is here to provide the highest level of care and support. As the preferred dermatologist in Atlanta, Georgia, our experienced team of specialists is dedicated to helping you fight skin cancer with comprehensive and personalized treatment options. From advanced surgical procedures to innovative therapies, we utilize the latest advancements in dermatology to ensure the best possible outcomes. Your health and well-being are our top priorities, and we are committed to guiding you through every step of your skin cancer treatment journey. Contact Atlanta Skin Wellness Center today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a healthier future. Trust in our expertise, compassion, and commitment to excellence in skin cancer care.