The subtle changes that occur when skin cancer starts developing might escape your notice at first, which makes checking moles and looking for signs of cancer an important preventive measure. If you find a suspicious lesion on your skin, ENT and Allergy Specialists of Western PA can help. Its skilled otolaryngologists specialize in diagnosing and treating head and neck cancers, including those of the skin. Call the office in Sewickley, Beaver/Vanport Township, Seven Fields, or Ohio Valley in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, today to schedule a consultation or book online.
Cancers occur when cells in your body mutate, causing them to multiply excessively. The cancerous cells don't have a limited lifespan like healthy cells, so not only are they growing out of control, but they also aren't dying off. That leads to a buildup of cancerous cells in your skin that form visible lesions.
Skin cancer takes three main forms:
Basal cell carcinomas develop in the basal layer cells on your skin's outer surface. Often appearing on the face and neck, basal cell carcinomas may look like flat, brown, or flesh-colored lesions, or waxy, pearly bumps.
Squamous cell carcinomas affect your skin cells below the basal layer, commonly appearing on the hands and face and being the most common form of ear cancer. The cancerous growths look like red nodules or lesions that are typically scaly or crusty. These skin cancers are more prone to spreading than basal cell carcinomas.
Melanomas affect the melanocyte cells that give your skin its color, and often develop from an existing mole. Irregular, discolored moles, moles that are changing, sore, or itchy, and what looks like a new mole could all be signs of melanoma.
While this type of skin cancer is less common than other types, it's also the most serious and could be life-threatening without prompt treatment.
Overexposure to the sun for years is the most common cause of skin cancer. That is particularly true if you have fair skin, which makes you more likely to burn in the sun.
Pale, freckled skin that suffers a sunburn at a young age is a high risk factor for skin cancer, but years of using tanning beds have similar effects.
Smoking is also a risk factor for developing skin cancer, especially on the lips.
One of the primary treatments for skin cancer is surgery to remove the cancerous lesion. That could involve a simple excision, where the surgeons cut the lesion out, or Mohs surgery, a specialized technique that ensures the removal of all cancerous cells while minimizing scarring.
You might need radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy to be sure there are no cancer cells remaining.
The ENT and Allergy Specialists of Western PA team specializes in treating patients with skin cancer on the head and neck. For a prompt diagnosis and expert skin cancer treatment, call their nearest office today or schedule an appointment using the online booking form.