WHAT IS SKIN CANCER?
Skin cancer is a disease that develops when skin cells grow abnormally. There are three major types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Seasoned dermatologist Dr. Jay Mehta is highly trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating skin cancer. If you’ve noticed any changes in your skin or have a family history of skin cancer, we encourage you to schedule a skin cancer screening at Arizona Skin Institute in Surprise, AZ near Phoenix.
WHAT IS SKIN CANCER SCREENING?
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer. The high rate of skin cancer means that routine skin screenings are crucial, especially when you’ve got a family or personal history of skin cancer. Early detection is key to accessing more treatment options and better results. Leading dermatologist Dr. Jay Mehta offers comprehensive skin cancer screenings with biopsies of abnormal areas, as well as many other innovative skin cancer procedures. To schedule a skin cancer screening, contact Arizona Skin Institute in Surprise, AZ near Phoenix.
TYPES OF SKIN CANCER
Dr. Mehta looks for four kinds of skin cancers during a dermal exam:
- Actinic Keratoses (AK):This kind tends to form after age 40 around areas of the skin that have been exposed to sunlight — such as the head, throat, hands, and forearms. AKs look like scaly, dry spots and are generally deemed precancerous because they could develop into squamous cell carcinoma.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC):This is the most common type of skin cancer. BCC can form anywhere on the body and may look like a pink area or a pearl-sized, flesh-colored bump. BCC needs to be treated because it could grow into nerves and bones, resulting in disfigurements and damage.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC):This is the second most common form of skin cancer. Forming on the skin that gets the most UV exposure, SCC looks like scaly spots; firm, red bumps; or sores that heal and reopen. These should be eliminated to avoid damage and disfigurement.
- Melanoma: This kind of cancer grows abruptly as a dark spot on the skin. Dr. Mehta uses the ABCDs to detect melanoma: Asymmetry, Border, Color, and Diameter. Based on information from the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma accounts for only one percent of skin cancer cases but for the majority of skin cancer deaths. For this reason, melanoma needs to be treated quickly once it’s diagnosed.
CHECKING YOUR SKIN FOR CANCER
During your skin cancer screening, Dr. Mehta will check your whole body for moles, birthmarks, and any abnormal growths. He can create a map of spots to indicate areas of concern, which also helps him identify new growths at future screenings. Dr. Mehta will explain to you how to perform a self-exam between your visits.
Sometimes, Dr. Mehta may take a biopsy of a suspicious spot. To do so, he’ll numb the skin and then shave off a little sample. He’ll send the biopsy to a pathology laboratory for evaluation. After Dr. Mehta gets your pathology report, we’ll contact you with the results.
EARLY DETECTION IS THE KEY
Understanding your risk and early detection are two keys factors in treating skin cancer successfully. If you’re due for a yearly skin check, then contact our office in Surprise, AZ, near Phoenix. Whether you already see Dr. Mehta for other treatments, are at elevated risk of developing skin cancer, or have questions about a strange growth on your skin, schedule a skin cancer screening at Arizona Skin Institute today.
HOW IS SKIN CANCER DIAGNOSED?
The first step to attaining a proper diagnosis is to meet with a licensed medical professional. At Arizona Skin Institute, Dr. Meta will perform a full skin assessment to identify any areas of concern. In some cases, he may order blood work and perform a biopsy on a skin lesion to determine whether it’s cancerous or benign. Educating yourself on the signs and symptoms to look out for is also essential for the early detection of skin cancer. You should become familiar with your skin and what is normal and abnormal for you. As a guideline, use the ABCDE guide for self-exams:
- Asymmetry: each half of a birthmark or mole should match or be symmetrical.
- Border: irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred edges should be checked by a doctor.
- Color: different colors or shades within a spot may be cause for concern.
- Diameter: spots over 6 mm across should be checked by a doctor.
- Evolving: the spot changing in size, shape, or color over time could indicate skin cancer.
Other warning signs of skin cancer include:
- Chronic itching, tenderness, or pain
- A pigment that spreads from a spot to surrounding normal skin
- Redness or swelling of the skin
- Skin wounds and sores that do not heal
Once we’ve completed a comprehensive skin exam and all your test results are back, we will schedule a follow-up exam so Dr. Mehta can go over your results. From there, he can discuss the next steps. At Arizona Skin Institute, we offer a wide variety of treatment options. Your treatment will be selected depending on the type, location, and severity of your skin cancer. We understand that skin cancer can be scary, but it’s often very treatable, and our caring team is here to walk you through the treatment process from start to finish. We invite you to read our skin cancer treatment page to learn about the different therapies we offer.
WHAT IS SKIN CANCER TREATMENT?
Skin cancer treatment is actually a family of procedures used to treat skin cancer, ranging from surface treatments and minimally-invasive approaches to surgical intervention. There are different risks and benefits of each procedure, and the best solution will be selected based on the type, location, and stage of your skin cancer. Leading dermatologist Dr. Jay Mehta has been serving Surprise and Phoenix, AZ with cutting-edge skincare for years. At Arizona Skin Institute, we offer a wide variety of therapies that can help to eradicate skin cancer.
TYPES OF TREATMENTS
Arizona Skin Insitute in Surprise, AZ offers the following skin cancer therapies:
- Photodynamic therapy destroys skin cancer through a combination of specialized drugs and light-based treatment
- Cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy harmful skin cells
- Electrodesiccation and curettage uses a blade to shave off skin tissue and then a type of burning technique to remove cancerous cells
- Excision uses a specialized medical tool to surgically remove abnormal skin tissue and lesions
- Intralesional chemotherapy uses a drug that is injected directly into the cancerous tumor
Once your diagnosis has been confirmed, Dr. Metha will go over all of your treatment options in detail during a follow-up exam. During this time, he’ll review the pros and cons of each procedure and provide his recommendation of which therapy he thinks is best to address the type, stage, and location of your skin cancer. After reviewing your options with you, he’ll build a custom treatment program, and we’ll schedule your treatment(s) accordingly.
SCHEDULE AN EXAM
Don’t live in fear any longer. If you suspect you have skin cancer, reach out to Arizona Skin Institute today. We have been serving Surprise, AZ, and the Greater Phoenix area with state-of-the-art skincare for years. Our compassionate team of seasoned professionals is here to help guide you every step of the way.