The summer is a fantastic time to get some fresh air and enjoy the warmth of the great outdoors. Unfortunately, amid all that outdoor fun, it’s easy to forget about protecting your skin from the sun. This sun exposure can catch up to you more quickly than you expect in the form of skin cancer.
There are multiple types of skin cancer. Melanoma is the most commonly known skin cancer but it is also one of the rarer types. The other two main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
As intimidating as it may be, skin cancer is very treatable. If you find yourself with a suspicious spot on your skin and you’re concerned about skin cancer, here is a peek into the potential skin cancer and pre-cancer removal treatments from our team at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta.
Some skin cancers and pre-cancers can be treated with a simple topical cream or lotion. These creams could be a topical form of chemotherapy or other medications like imiquimod or 5-fluorouracil, also called 5-FU.
It may seem ironic, but even though skin cancer is caused by a form of light, it can be treated with light too. Photodynamic therapy or PDT is a treatment that uses precise wavelengths of light to break down pre-cancerous cells. We use a photosensitizing agent that disappears from healthy cells but stays longer in pre-cancerous cells, so when we apply specific light wavelengths to the area, it targets and destroys the pre-cancerous cells.
You might know that “cryo” means “extreme cold,” so cryosurgery is a technique in which we “freeze” the pre-cancerous cells to destroy them. Liquid nitrogen allows us to specifically target the pre-cancerous lesion and keep your healthy surrounding skin safe.
Laser treatments for skin cancer removal are precise like cryotherapy treatments but they use laser energy instead of extreme cold. Our specialists at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta use a laser to kill cancer cells in an efficient way.
In some cases, the best way to remove skin cancer is to surgically remove it. A surgical excision is a minimally invasive procedure that removes the cancerous lesion.
Mohs Micrographic Skin Cancer Surgery
A more in-depth surgery for skin cancer removal, especially common for skin cancers that have begun to grow further under the skin, is called Mohs surgery. Using this method, our experts will surgically remove your tumor and examine its edges under a microscope to see if we removed all the cancer or if there are still cancerous cells remaining around its border. If we haven’t removed all the cancer, we go back and remove more tissue. We repeat the process until we are confident that all the cancer is gone.
How Do I Know What Skin Cancer or Pre-Cancer Treatment is Best for Me?
There is a reason why there are so many different skin cancer treatments: because there are several different types of skin cancer and levels of progression. Our skin cancer and pre-cancer treatment plan for each patient depends on the exact nature of their disease. In the case of skin cancer, the type of cancer and other details about how the cancer has progressed, where it’s located, and so on are important to formulating this plan.
Ultimately, the only way to know what to expect if you have skin cancer is to schedule an appointment with Dermatology Associates of Atlanta. Our specialists will be able to assess the details of your skin cancer or pre-cancerous lesion and determine the best treatment for your specific needs. Be sure to also follow DAA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more skin health tips to prevent skin cancer and other common conditions.