Skin CancerView More Before & Afters
Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Sometimes cells in the skin undergo changes that create spots, bumps, and moles that eventually become skin cancer. Many of these changes to the skin are often left ignored and lead to more serious issues down the line if left untreated or undiagnosed.
Because skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and accounts for millions of cases each year, early detection is vital for successful treatment. If you notice changes in your skin, you can give yourself a head start by scheduling a check-up with Schlessinger MD.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a board-certified dermatologist at Schlessinger MD in Omaha, Nebraska, can assess your concerns about suspicious spots and moles and provide accurate diagnosis and treatment for skin cancer. He has the medical background to look at all aspects of this condition and the surgical training to perform a specialized form of treatment called Moh’s microsurgery for cancer removal.
Additionally, he has been actively involved in clinical research on skin cancer and its causes. Dr. Schlessinger has done over 20 clinical trials on treatments for skin cancer or pre-skin cancer and has been active in this field for over 25 years.
What does skin cancer look like?
Skin cancer tumors on the skin look like moles in various shapes and sizes and colors. Most people don’t know how to distinguish the harmful-looking lesions from those that are not harmful.
- If you see any change on your skin, whether it’s a new mole or colorless growth or an itchy sore that doesn’t seem to heal, make an appointment to have Dr. Schlessinger or one of his associates evaluate it.
- A spot that bleeds or changes or becomes tender or painful should be assessed.
- Any new mole or old mole that grows larger than the size of a pencil eraser, or has irregular borders, various dark colors, and jagged borders might become serious.
What are the basic types of skin cancer?
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma often appears on the face or other parts of the head and neck but can be anywhere on the body. These tumors look like small, fleshy bumps. Cells from these tumors can spread below the skin and cause damage. They are easily removed, especially when found early. The earlier they are found, the less the scarring will be.
Basal Cell Carcinoma behind the ear.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma may look like red or scaly patches or bumps. Most often, dermatologists see these on the outer edge of the ear and on the face, lips, and mouth. These areas can grow larger and spread to other parts of the body. Again, like basal cell carcinoma, when caught early and removed, these areas can be completely cured and usually don’t spread in the body.
A Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
The third form of common skin cancer is the most serious. Malignant melanoma may appear suddenly or alongside another mole. Watch for darker, uneven areas anywhere – even on areas of the skin that don’t get exposed to the sun. Since melanoma can often spread in the body, it is imperative to come in quickly if it is suspected.
A Large Melanoma.
What causes skin cancer?
There are a variety of factors that can potentially cause skin cancer. Someone with pale skin who sunburns easily is at higher risk than someone with more pigment in their skin. Additionally, anyone who has had severe sunburns in the past or a family history of skin cancer may also be at more risk. It’s important that you take the necessary precautions to keep your skin protected. This means taking care of it by applying sunscreen, avoiding unnecessary sun and scheduling regular appointments with Dr. Schlessinger or one of his associates.
Dr. Schlessinger removes the suspicious area and sends it to a lab for analysis. If the skin removed is assessed to be a form of skin cancer, he will make sure he has removed the problem entirely by shaving down the skin in the area to completely remove the cancerous cells, scraping and burning the area (known as electrodessication and curettage) or excising the cancer.
In some cases, he will employ Mohs Micrographic Surgery, a specialized form of treatment that Dr. Schlessinger was trained in and has performed over 3000 surgeries of in his career. This skin cancer treatment allows a 96% to 98% rate of cure. Dr. Schlessinger is one of a select group of dermatologists in the U.S. performing Mohs skin cancer surgery and a member of the American Society for Mohs Surgery. This surgery is especially effective in treating basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.
You will be treated at a state-of-the-art, state-certified, surgery center within his clinic at Schlessinger MD in Omaha, Nebraska. During the procedure thin layers of skin are intricately removed around the lesion and examined under a microscope. Once it is determined that the cancer is gone, the wound is closed with stitches.
Because Dr. Schlessinger is highly skilled in performing the procedure patients can expect the best scar possible. If areas need specialized repair, Dr. Schlessinger will refer you to a facial plastic or oculoplastic surgeon for repair.
“I enjoy the challenge of not only curing skin cancer, but leaving the patient with the best scar possible. As a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, I always want to leave the patient as good or better than they were when they came in with skin cancer.”