Diagnosing Skin Cancer
Many people are frightened by the word “cancer.” Cancer mutates cells in the body and can lead to prolonged illness, and even death. Sadly, while most people recognize the risk of cancers that develop in the body, many do not give as much thought to skin cancer.
The skin is one of the largest organs in the body and has a great impact on a person’s overall health. Skin cancer is a dangerous condition that, if left untreated, can spread throughout the body and lead to severe consequences. Another common misconception about skin cancer is that it only affects fair-skinned people or those who spend prolonged time in the sun. In fact, skin cancer can affect anyone, so all individuals should schedule regular skin exams to check for signs of skin cancer.
Diagnosing skin cancer early on allows our Fullerton, CA dermatologist, Dr. William Baugh, to treat the condition while it is in its earliest stages.
To ensure that skin cancer is detected in a timely manner, it is important to schedule routine skin exams, especially if there is family history of skin cancer, or if you have had a previous skin cancer diagnosis. Any changes in the appearance of a mole, skin tag, or beauty mark should also be reported to Dr. Baugh as soon as possible, as this may be an early sign of skin cancer. Skin cancer diagnosis begins with a simple visual examination of the skin. Some potential skin cancer warnings that Dr. Baugh will be looking for include:
- Any new or unusual growths
- A sore that doesn’t go away
- A pale, scaly patch of skin
- Firm lumps in the skin
- Changes to the size, color, or shape of an existing spot
If Dr. Baugh sees any signs of cancer during a visual examination, he is likely to follow up with a skin biopsy. Dr. Baugh will biopsy the affected area and send it to a laboratory where it will be tested for the presence of cancerous cells. It is important to note that not all lesions are cancerous. However, it is always best to err on the side of caution, as early treatment is key to the ultimate success of treatment.
Skin Cancer Treatment
If Dr. Baugh does diagnose skin cancer, there are many treatment options to explore. Often, skin cancer can be treated in our office. Some in-office treatment options include surgical removal of the affected tissues, and photodynamic therapy, a light therapy that activates medication to kill cancer cells.
Skin cancer treatment will be tailored to the unique needs of each patient and will be dependent on the type of cancer that is present. If melanoma is detected, treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation may be necessary, so Dr. Baugh will coordinate treatment with nearby doctors. No matter the specifics of each skin cancer diagnosis, the ultimate goal will be to provide aggressive treatment that will rid the body of cancer.
Schedule an Appointment
Whether you are concerned about an unusual skin growth or are simply interested in a routine skin exam, Dr. William Baugh is here to help. Schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience to learn more about skin cancer diagnosis and the other dermatological services offered by Dr. Baugh.