"Thank you so much for giving my 16 year old daughter a new lease on life! Your care provided her not only with much needed medical attention to her skin, but has boosted her confidence to a whole new level! Her skin looks amazing and we couldn't be happier. We had been to many doctors prior to our referral to you. You and your staff have blessed our lives."
~ Amy E.
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United states–more than 3.5 million cases are diagnosed annually. One of every five Americans will experience skin cancer during his or her lifetime. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation causes genetic changes in skin DNA which results in uncontrolled growth of skin cells which can form scaly lesions called actinic keratosis which eventually can transform into tumors.
How The Sun Sees You
While skin cancer is one of the easiest cancers to diagnose and treat, many patients don’t understand the importance of having regular screenings and examinations. You may not think much of a new growth on your skin and let it go for a while before having it checked. This is never a good idea. The earlier skin cancer is diagnosed, the less likely it will be to spread and become a major problem. Whenever you notice any changes in your skin, please visit Dr. Pierre for an examination.
Cancerous skin growths fall into three basic categories:
- Basal cell carcinomas (BCC) are the most common and most treatable. They present as a bleeding pimple like lesion that doesn’t heal, sores, scaly plaques of reddened skin, shiny, pink bumps, or a scar without cause. BCCs are usually caused by cumulative UV exposure, so they are classically seen on the scalp, face, ears, neck, shoulders, and back. A BCC can become disfiguring but is rarely life threatening and doesn’t normally spread to other body parts.
- A squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) may appear as a red, scaly plaque, an open sore, or look like a wart. SCCs are also linked to UV exposure over a period of time. Skin injuries, autoimmune diseases, and some medications can trigger their development. Adults over the age of 50 and those who have had a BCC are more susceptible. With early detection and removal, SCCs are usually curable. However, this type of cancer results in about 2,500 deaths each year in the U.S. if allowed to metastasize to other organs.
- Melanoma is the one of the most dangerous types of skin cancer. These malignant tumors often look like moles that are changing in size, color, or shape. While usually brown or black, they may be pink, red, purple, blue, white, or skin toned. Melanomas are triggered by intense UV exposure (sunburn) and likely have other environmental and genetic factors related to their development. Melanoma readily metastasizes, spreading to other organs. It kills nearly 9,000 Americans annually.
During an examination, Dr. Pierre may do a full body check as well as check out the area of concern. If it is believed that the skin growth is not just a standard mole or wart, then a biopsy may be done. A small portion of the growth is removed and sent to a laboratory for further investigation. The laboratory will be able to determine if there are cancerous or precancerous cells present. If this is the case, Dr. Pierre may recommend a variety of options to his patients. The most common treatment for skin cancer is surgical excision, which means removing the area of skin to eliminate the cancerous cells before they have the opportunity to spread. This is another reason why early detection is preferred. Depending on the location and size of the tumor and your health, Dr. Pierre may recommend seeing a specialist for Mohs micrographic surgery – a more precise method that spares surrounding tissues. In some cases, a referral to an oncologist for traditional radiation or chemotherapy is indicated, and reconstructive surgery may be necessary.
Dr. Peterson Pierre of Pierre Skin Care Institute has dedicated his practice to helping patients maintain healthy, beautiful skin. Don’t take chances with your skin and your health. If you have an unusual skin growth or changes in moles or freckles that are causing a concern, contact Pierre Skin Care Institute today to book an appointment with our board certified dermatologist. Our practice can be reached by calling 805.409.4560 and scheduling a visit for a thorough examination and consultation. Dr. Peterson Pierre and his team are here to help patients young and old in his state-of-the-art facility.