Skin Cancer in Lake Charles LA
Skin cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in the country, is a result of the abnormal growth of skin cells that can affect skin anywhere on the body. It appears most often on skin that is exposed to the sun. There are more than a million new cases in the United States each year, which is why it is imperative to undergo a regular skin cancer screening with Dr. Shondra Smith at our office in Lake Charles LA. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your routine screening.
Types of Skin Cancer
There are three primary types of skin cancer, and each affects different layers of the skin. They are named for the different types of skin cells that become cancerous.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma occurs in the basal cell layer of the skin and is the most common type of cancer in people with fair skin. It commonly occurs on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun, such as the face. It rarely spreads to other parts of the body.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in the squamous cells, and is the most common type of cancer in people with dark skin, who typically get it in places, like the legs or feet, that have not been exposed to the sun. In people with fair skin, this type of cancer usually occurs in sun-exposed areas such as on the face, head, ears and neck. Squamous cell carcinoma can spread to other parts of the body.
Melanoma is the most aggressive type of cancer, and the most likely to spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma occurs in the melanocyte (pigment) cells of the skin, and can form on any part of the body, regardless of past sun exposure.
Signs of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is often identified as a new or changed growth on the skin of the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms, hands or legs. Although these are common areas for growths to form, the following are some signs of skin cancer to keep in mind:
- Pearly or waxy bump
- Flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion
- Firm, red nodule
- Crusted, flat lesion
- Large brown spot with darker speckles
- Shiny, firm bumps
- A mole that changes shape or color
To diagnose cancer, Dr. Smith will perform a skin cancer screening. She will review all of your symptoms, and will check your skin for any unusual growths or abnormal patches of skin. If cancer is suspected, a diagnosis will be performed on the growth or area of skin in question. Methods of diagnosis include a shave biopsy, punch biopsy, DermTech taping and Dermoscopy. Once the results are reviewed, the type of cancer can be determined, and a treatment plan created.
If you experience any skin changes, or have changes to existing moles or birthmarks, please contact Dr. Smith as soon as possible to schedule a skin screening, as early detection is key in successful treatment.
Skin Cancer Treatment
The recommended skin cancer treatment depends on the type, size and location of the tumor. Most options include the removal of the entire growth, and are effective forms of treatment. Removal procedures are usually simple, requiring only a local anesthetic in an outpatient setting. Some of the treatment options recommended by Dr. Smith include the following:
- Laser Therapy
- Mohs Surgery
Depending on the stage and severity of the cancer, in addition to removal of the growth, chemotherapy and radiation may be recommended. Please contact us today with any questions.
Although not every case of can be prevented, the best way to avoid it is to protect skin from the sun and ultraviolet rays. Recommendations include the following:
- Limit exposure to the skin, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Always wear sun screen with an SPF of at least 15
- Wear a hat in the sun
- Wear long sleeves and long pants
- Avoid tanning beds and salons
Performing routine exams on yourself to spot skin changes, and seeing Dr. Smith for a full body skin cancer screening on a regular basis, is also recommended. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or with any questions you may have.
If you are looking for an expert dermatologist, give us a call today at (337) 477-0011 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Smith. We serve those located in Lake Charles, Sulphur, Moss Bluff, and Jennings, LA, Orange, TX, and surrounding areas.