Luna Dermatology specializes in surgical procedures and minimally invasive treatments to control and effectively treat skin cancer with early detection.
There are several types of skin cancer, all of which have an excellent prognosis when detected and treated in their earliest stages.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer and is generally found on skin that has been repeatedly exposed to the sun. Skin cancer may develop anywhere on the body, especially in patients using indoor tanning salons. However, the scalp, ears, face and shoulders are the most common areas for BCC to develop. Unlike melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma, BCC grows more slowly. If left untreated, it will attack healthy cells, which can be devastating to areas with tender skin such as the face and ears. Because of the limited amount of skin in these areas, untreated BCC that needs to be removed can severely alter a patient’s appearance. BCC is generally treated by surgical excision, which is typically performed in the office with a local anesthetic. Sutures will remain anywhere from five to 14 days, depending on where the excision is performed.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a type of skin cancer that is generally found on skin that has been repeatedly exposed to the sun. SCC grows rapidly and is treated by surgical excision in the office using a local anesthetic. Sutures will remain anywhere from five to 14 days, depending on where the excision is performed. Patients who are diagnosed with SCC have an increased chance of developing additional lesions, especially in the same area, even when the initial lesion was removed correctly. Such recurrences typically occur within the first two years following surgery.It is important to follow up with regular full body exams, as well as to perform a self-examination of any previously treated site between exams. Any changes should immediately be reported to the dermatologist. SCC is commonly found on the forehead, ears, lips and nose.
Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer, with over 10,000 people dying each year in the United States alone. Melanoma spreads rapidly by entering the bloodstream and moves to the vital organs quickly. Melanoma resembles a mole, and at times may develop from moles that had not shown any signs of cancer in the past. Patients with a family history of melanoma or a high number of moles, as well as those who have had a blistering sunburn, are at higher risk for developing melanoma. Like most skin cancers, early detection is key. When treated in the early stages, melanoma has a survival rate of over 95 percent. However, the rate drastically drops when treatment is delayed. Family history plays a significant role in developing melanoma, and those with this history should have a full body examination every six months.
Treatment typically involves a special form of surgery called Mohs surgery.
What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs is an outpatient technique in which thin layers of cancerous tissue are removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains. It is a valuable treatment to effectively combat basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and -in some cases- melanoma. It is considered a tissue-sparing surgery, preserving most of the healthy tissue while ensuring the cancer is removed.
Mohs surgery has the lowest recurrence rates and best cosmetic results of any skin cancer treatment.
The surgery is done under local anesthetic, and may take several hours to complete. Mohs surgery is considered a tissue sparing surgery where a small section of the skin surrounding the known melanoma is removed and assessed to ensure the tissue is cancer-free. If the tissue is not cleared of cancer, the surgeon will remove another section of tissue and repeat the process until all of the cancerous tissue has been removed. These repeated processes are called stages. Patients will generally need to go through two to three stages in order to be clear. The number of stages will determine the length of time of the visit. As with all surgeries, sutures will be placed and remain anywhere from five to 14 days, depending on where the excision is performed.