If you or a family member have been diagnosed with skin cancer, we understand how frightening this can be. Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States.
At Forefront Dermatology, our experienced, collaborative team of board-certified dermatologists and fellowship-trained Mohs skin cancer surgeons combine the very latest in expert clinical knowledge and technology, with a comprehensive and compassionate approach to care. This allows us to offer our patients a personalized program of patient-centered care for all of those we treat.
Skin Cancer Diagnosis
To diagnose skin cancer, your Forefront dermatologist will:
Conduct a thorough skin examination to determine whether your skin changes are likely to be skin cancer. Further testing may be needed to confirm that diagnosis.
Take a skin biopsy by removing the suspicious-looking skin for lab testing. A biopsy can determine whether you have skin cancer and, if so, what type of skin cancer you have.
If your doctor determines you have skin cancer, your board-certified Forefront dermatologist will discuss all available treatment options.
Skin Cancer Treatment
Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers
If you are diagnosed with non-melamona skin cancer, which make up the vast majority of skin cancers, your board-certified dermatologist will design a treatment plan specifically designed for you. Treatment options include:
Liquid nitrogen is applied to the growth with a spray device or cotton-tipped applicator. This freezes the tissue without requiring any cutting. This treatment is usually for pre-cancerous lesions and for the very earliest most superficial skin-cancer lesions. This treatment will result in some short-term blistering, and occasionally, long-term permanent discoloration leaving the skin white.
Scraping and Burning
This technique is usually reserved for small lesions generally not on the face. Local anesthesia is administered, the growth is gently scraped off with a tool with a sharp, ring-shaped tip, and then the tumor site is burned with a small needle.
Standard Excision is the removal of a skin cancer along with some of the healthy skin tissue around it (margin). For this procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the area. After the cancerous area is removed, the incision is closed with stitches. If the incision is large, sometimes a skin graft or flap is required. Reconstructive surgery may be needed if the excision surgery creates a scar.
Mohs surgery is the most effective treatment for most types of skin cancer. The Mohs procedure involves surgically removing skin cancer layer by layer and examining the tissue under a microscope until healthy, cancer-free tissue around the tumour is reached (called clear margins). Each Forefront Dermatology Mohs surgeon is specially trained as a cancer surgeon, pathologist, and reconstructive surgeon and this results in Mohs surgery having the highest success rate of all skin cancer treatments – up to 99 percent.
Because of Mohs surgery’s high success rate, most patients require only a single surgery.
If you are diagnosed with melanoma, the characteristics and depth of your melanoma will be factored into the type of treatment recommended by your board-certified Forefront dermatologist. Many patients diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer may require additional X-ray diagnostic testing, immuno-diagnostic testing, or lymphnode biopsy of the tissue.
Fortunately, if you have been receiving regular skin checks, most melanoma can be addressed with a wide excision by your Forefront board-certified dermatologist. In some cases, Mohs Micrographic Surgery may be recommended for certain types of melanoma skin cancers. For this reason, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment for a skin check if you notice any changes in your skin.
For deeper melanoma lesions, a diagnosis on the biopsy sample itself can determine if a lymphnode biopsy is required. If the cancer has spread to lymphnodes, your physician will refer you to a medical and possibly surgical oncologist for further treatment.