Going for an annual skin screening can save your life and is vital in preventing skin cancer. The sooner preventative measures are taken, the better your chances are it won't spread. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most prevalent of all types of cancers. It is estimated that more than one million Americans develop skin cancer every year. With that in mind, we offer a wide range of surgical and non-surgical treatments to eliminate this disease. Mole removal, cryosurgery, photodynamic therapy, lasers, and medications are just some of the alternatives available to treat them. Please contact our office for a skin screening or diagnosis and treatment of any skin problem.
Skin cancer should not be taken lightly. It can crop up on anyone with little warning. It is not reserved just for those who spend weeks in tanning salons! Knowledge is power, so we at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta do our best to educate our patients. There are three types of very common skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. The carcinomas are easily treatable and rarely advance into a state dangerous to your health, but melanomas should be treated as early as possible because once it spreads, it could lead to serious complications. Skin biopsies, such as mole removal, are the only way to truly diagnose a potentially cancerous portion of your skin. To prevent you from undergoing multiple skin biopsies, a few telltale signs of the common skin cancers should be considered.
Basal Cell Carcinoma: Be on the lookout for raised, smooth, pearly bumps around the head, neck, or shoulder areas. It often resembles a sore, but fails to heal.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Look for red, scaling, thickening patches of skin in sun-exposed areas.
Melanoma: Melanoma appears as dark, either brown or black, lesions. Be observant of any moles changing size, shape, elevation, or color.
*Not all skin cancers will always follow these patterns so it is important to get a skin cancer screening at least once a year to ensure you stay skin cancer free.
In addition to getting a head-to-toe “body check” for skin cancer each year, you should consult a dermatologist whenever you see an unusual skin lesion appear. We at DAA hope you will take good care of your skin and never hesitate to come to us with any questions. Our specialized doctors have excellent credentials and a wealth of experience to make your visit as pleasant and painless as possible.
Actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis, is a pre-cancerous condition of damaged skin that could eventually lead sqaumous cell carcinoma. It is marked by thick, scaly patches of skin that can eventually grow to be bumpy, tough, and wart-like. Actinic keratosis is most common in fair skinned people and happens most frequently in sun-exposed areas of the body. Because actinic keratosis can eventually become cancerous, if you suspect it somewhere on your body, you should see a dermatologist as soon as possible.
(Note: Other forms of keratosis include keratosis pilaris often referred to as "chicken skin" or the bumpy texture on hair follicles and seborrheic keratosis, noncancerous skin growths that come with advancing age, can also be treated by our board certified dermatologists.)
Photodynamic Therapy: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses an injection of a photosynthesizer that, combined with the right kind of laser light, destroys cancerous tissue. The photosynthesizer stays in the cancerous cells longer than healthy body cells, thus when the photosynthesizing agent has left normal body cells, the skin cancer area is exposed to light which then activates a form of oxygen that destroys the basal cells and sqaumous cells.
Topical Chemotherapy: Topical chemotherapy usually takes the form of a cream or lotion that is placed directly on the skin one or two times a day for several weeks. For basal cell carcinomas affecting only the top layer of skin, a prescription drug called imiquimod is recommended. For treating more severe basal cell carcinomas and sqaumous cell carcinoma, a drug called fluorouracil (5-FU) is often used.
Cryosurgery: Cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen and the extreme cold it produces to destroy abnormal tissue and skin lesions. Cryosurgery is applied directly on the skin and is used to treat basal cell carcinoma and sqaumous cell carcinoma. Cryosurgery is also effective in the treatment of pre-cancerous skin growths or actinic keratosis.
Mohs Skin Cancer Surgery: Mohs surgery is the most technologically advanced treatment for skin cancer and is effective in the treatment of melanoma. In Mohs surgery, physicians remove the lesion layer by layer. This accurate, micrographically controlled procedure is meant to completely remove the cancerous tissue, without harming the surrounding tissue. Mohs surgery is the most precise and effective method for removing problem areas and is especially effective for removing tissue on sensitive areas, like the face, with little chance of regrowth and disfigurement. Mohs surgery is performed by our board certified dermatologists Dr. Edmond Griffin, Dr. Scott Karempelis, Dr. Stephen Kraus, Dr. Joseph Payne, and Dr. Ashley Curtis in Dermatology Associates of Atlanta's on-site, AAAHC accredited surgical suite.
Laser Treatments: Occasionally there are some laser treatments in the Laser Institute of Georgia that can be used to treat certain types of skin cancer in lieu of cryosurgery. The best treatment plan for each individual patient will be decided by our board certified dermatologists.
Disclaimer: Skin Cancer is a very serious condition and should ultimately be diagnosed and confirmed by a Board Certified Dermatologist!
The content on Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s website is intended to educate patients about skin conditions and treatments, but is not to be taken as medical advice. Dermatology Associates of Atlanta is not responsible for any omissions of information or any damages arising from the display of said content. Dermatologic treatment must be determined on a per patient basis by a board certified physician. It is recommended that you obtain assistance from a licensed professional for any treatment questions.