Skin cancer is one of the more common types of cancer, but luckily it is also one of the most treatable. Most of the time, skin cancers are slow-growing, low-grade tumors. If caught before the cancer moves into other organs, it is typically possible to leave a patient cancer-free after a surgical intervention.
If you are dealing with a recent diagnosis, prompt treatment is essential, and that’s why Mat-Su Valley Cancer Center has put together a skin cancer team. Skin cancer treatment in Eagle River, AK is built around an understanding of the unique qualities of skin cancer, and it is customized to the type of cancer you have been diagnosed with.
The majority of all skin cancers do not typically move out into other tissue, but melanomas are known to metastasize readily in their later stages. Other types of skin cancer that might behave atypically make up less than one percent of all diagnoses.
In the early stages, it may be possible to fully remove the cancer with a surgical procedure. If the tumor is large or it has shown signs of spreading, radiation or chemotherapy may also be used to shrink the tumor before surgery or to ensure it is fully gone after.
The following factors increase one’s risk of skin cancer.
Unlike many forms of cancer, skin cancer’s causes are well-understood, and reducing the risk factors in your life is one way of effectively managing the chances of developing tumors. Since some factors are environmental, it’s not totally possible to eliminate risks, and that is why you need your local Anchorage oncologists.
There are many types of skin cancers, but only a few are relatively common, and of those, only one is likely to invade nearby tissue. This makes most skin cancer relatively slow to develop, but other risk factors still make it a priority to treat. Read on to learn more about the types of skin cancer.
These two types of skin cancer rarely invade nearby tissue, and they account for the overwhelming majority of all skin cancer diagnoses. They tend to grow slowly, and they can be recognized by their reddish, scar-like or sore-like condition. They can put pressure on organs or displace nearby tissue, though, so they should still be caught and treated early.
Melanomas make up a minority of all skin cancer diagnoses, but they are still fairly common compared to other, more irregular types of cancer. Melanomas appear brownish, like irregular moles, and they tend to grow more quickly than basal & squamous cell tumors. They are known to metastasize to other tissue as well, so it is vital that melanomas be treated early.
Apart from the three types discussed above, the remaining types of skin cancer altogether only make up one percent of all diagnoses.
Anyone can get skin cancer, but it’s also easy for anyone to do a self-examination. While the self-examination can’t tell you for sure if a spot you find is a tumor, it can tell you when you need to go in and talk to a radiation oncologist about what you found. Follow these steps to perform your self-checkup.
Squamous cell carcinomas almost always cause disfiguring damage if they are allowed to develop long enough to penetrate deeply into the tissue. If they are caught early, though, surgical removal is generally simple and leaves no sign of cancer afterward. While rare, these cancers can occasionally metastasize, so they should be seen to immediately whenever they are found.
Melanomas are often removed through a similar surgical procedure, but it is more common for them to be supported by chemotherapy and radiation afterward due to their increased chance of metastasizing.
Depending on the size of the tumor and the level of involvement with other tissues, there are a few ways to remove tumors:
Need information or treatment for another form of cancer? Our cancer specialists are experienced in the following services:
The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (both are often grouped in nonmelanoma skin cancers) and melanoma.
Because skin cancers are caused by the uncontrolled growth of skin cells, the first presentation is usually a visible change in a person’s skin. Consult a trained physician immediately if you observe any of these warning signs associated with common skin cancers:
Nonmelanoma skin cancers are some of the most treatable cancers. When melanoma is caught and treated early (before it spreads to the lymph nodes), it is also highly curable. The goal of treatment for skin cancer is to remove, or excise, all of the cancer. Typically, the first line therapies are surgical. Nonsurgical treatments may be an option in some cases.
The type of surgical treatment used depends on the type, size, depth and location of the tumor. In most cases, the procedure is done on an outpatient basis. The most common surgical procedures to remove cancerous areas of the skin are:
Radiation or chemotherapy may be necessary for advanced cases of skin cancer or when patients are unable to have surgery.
The incidence of skin cancer has been increasing quickly for the past few years. One in two men and one in three women will develop nonmelanoma skin cancer in their lifetime. Once a patient has a nonmelanoma skin cancer, there is a much higher risk of developing more skin cancers.
The risks factors for developing nonmelanoma skin cancer include: fair skin, indoor tanning bed use, multiple blistering sunburns, heavy UV exposure, prior skin cancer diagnosis, northern European ancestry, history of radiation therapy, immunosuppression, exposure to arsenic, and some forms of the HPV virus. Individuals at higher risk of melanoma include those with: red or blonde hair, blue or green eyes, many atypical moles, a first degree relative with a history of melanoma, a previous diagnosis of melanoma or nonmelanoma skin cancer(s).
Sun exposure can damage your skin during any season, but summer rays are more harmful and can raise the risk of developing skin cancer. Smart sun care tips include:
Contact us at Mat-Su Valley Cancer Center at 907-707-1333. We are here to explain the variety of treatment options available to you and make sure all of your questions are answered. For your convenience, we also have an online contact form that you may use to ask your questions or make your first appointment. Your first phone consultation is free, so don’t hesitate to give us a call today. You owe it to yourself to explore all treatment options available to you.