Robert M. Wald, Jr., MD - The Aesthetic Institute
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Orange County | Fullerton, CA

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Category: Skin Cancer Treatment

Things to Consider When Addressing Skin Cancer

4 Min Read

Person being examined for skin cancer-img-blog

Get regular skin checkups to ensure that your skin is healthy and receives early treatment if needed.

Skin cancer is a common concern of many Americans, especially those with freckles and fair skin. 

The main contributing factor to the formation of skin cancer is ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Tanning beds and other artificial sources of light and heat are also culprits.

While there are some people who have a predisposition or higher risk of being diagnosed with skin cancer than others, almost anyone can develop skin cancer.

Skin cancer can be removed when found and treated early, including more severe cases of melanoma. The key is early detection and being informed.

Below are some details on what to do if you think you may have skin cancer, and what to expect after a cancer diagnosis.

How Is Skin Cancer Identified?

Skin cancer most commonly appears on the face, neck, back, shoulders, and arms. 

You can notice when something is different about your skin by performing self-checks and having a loved one help you with harder to see spots, such as your back. 

Diagnosing Skin Cancer

When you see your physician for regular checkups, or if you think you may have an issue, they can examine your skin and run tests to see if your concern is skin cancer or not. 

If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, your physician will discuss your treatment options with you. 

What Is Skin Cancer Treatment?

Typically, the affected tissue is removed from the location or areas where cancer is found.

The removal process will likely leave some scarring in the area of excision. 

For patients who are having cancer removed from their face, this can be worrisome. 

But it is important to remember that cancer, when left untreated, can spread and cause further damage to the skin and body, so you want to take care of it as soon as possible.

Fortunately, plastic surgeons are able to reconstruct the skin to form a smooth appearance if you require the removal of tissue.

Reconstruction After Skin Cancer

If you have significant scarring after skin cancer removal, reconstruction can restore your appearance. Your treatment may include:

  • Prosthetics: features, such as the ears, may need restructuring to create a fuller appearance
  • Scar revision: this process reduces the noticeability of scars by smoothing out the skin
  • Tissue transference: tissue flaps can be used for areas that have had a large amount of tissue loss

How Can I Prevent Skin Cancer?

In some cases, skin cancer can be avoided by practicing various techniques. Some helpful tips for reducing the risk of developing skin cancer, or catching symptoms early to remove any cancer that does form, include:

    • Do not intentionally get a tan. Getting a sunburn or a tan is damaging to your skin, whether it is through sunshine or a tanning bed. Tanning also causes premature wrinkles that can significantly age your appearance. Self-tanning lotions can be an excellent alternative if you seek bronze skin.
    • Wear sun protection every day. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and protective clothing can shield you from the sun’s damaging rays. Avoid direct sun exposure and liberally apply and reapply your sunblock.
    • Get checked regularly by a professional. Notify them of any changes in your skin, such as a new growth or an existing mole growing or becoming painful. It is best to catch these concerns immediately and seek treatment during the early stages. 
    • Be careful around snow, water, and sand. These surfaces are all very reflective and can cause sunburns. The same goes for an overcast day; the sun can still burn you, so please use protection.

 

  • Conduct self-examinations at home. In addition to regular checkups, you will want to become familiar with your skin and analyze any abnormalities that arise. 

 

The ABCDE Test

According to The American Academy of Dermatology, the warning signs of skin cancer can include:

Asymmetry

Are any of your moles asymmetric? Is one half of the mole a different shape than the other half?

Borders

Are any of your moles irregularly shaped or poorly outlined?

Color

Have any of your moles changed in color or shade? You may notice a tan, brown, black, white, red, or blue coloration. Any variation of color can be a warning sign.

Diameter

Are your moles the size of a pencil eraser or even larger?

Evolving

Have any of your moles or skin lesions changed in size, shape, or color? 

Woman in a large-brimmed hat, applying sunscreen to her face.

Staying in the shade, wearing a large-brimmed hat, and liberally applying sunscreen are great ways to avoid the sun’s damaging UV radiation.

What If I Think I May Have Skin Cancer?

If you believe you might have skin cancer, have been diagnosed with skin cancer, or have already undergone a removal treatment, schedule a consultation with Dr. Wald in Orange County today to discuss your concerns.

You can get in touch online or call us at our Fullerton, CA, office at (714) 312-3549. 

Understanding Skin Cancer

Treating Skin CancerSkin cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer, affecting more people in America than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers combined. While each patient is unique, there is currently a 93 percent survival rate for skin cancer, which is one of the highest survival rates of any cancer. This is due to a number of factors, the most important being early detection.

Catching any cancer in its early stages is one of the main keys to surviving it. Educating yourself on what skin cancer and precancerous lesions look like will help you know when you should get evaluated for skin cancer. The ABCDE system of identifying cancerous and precancerous lesions will help you know if you should get your lesion checked for skin cancer.

  • A: Asymmetry – Cancerous lesions are not symmetrical. If you draw a line through the center of the lesion, both sides don’t match up.
  • B: Borders – Regular lesions have smooth borders, while cancerous and precancerous ones have jagged, irregularly shaped borders.
  • C: Color – Most benign moles are one color. If you have a lesion that varies in color, you should get it evaluated.
  • D: Diameter – Cancerous lesions are usually larger than benign lesions. You should get checked if your lesion has a diameter larger than 6mm or if it is bigger than an eraser head.
  • E: Evolving – Moles and other lesions usually stay static. If yours changes in appearance or grows over time, you should have a doctor check it out.

Diagnosing Skin Cancer

If you believe that you might have a cancerous lesion, it is important to schedule a consultation with a doctor. During your consultation, a small portion of the lesion will be cut off and sent to a lab to be biopsied. If your results come back as precancerous or cancerous, the next step to take is treatment.

Treating Skin Cancer

Whether you have a precancerous or cancerous lesion, the first step is removing the mass. Smaller lesions can be removed in-office using local anesthesia. Common removal techniques include excision or desiccation. After removal, some patients may require further cancer treatment that may include chemotherapy and radiation.

Reconstruction After Treatment

Some lesions are larger or placed in visible areas that can leave unattractive marks on the skin after removal. Sometimes it is just some slight scarring, but in other cases, whole sections of tissue may be removed from the nose, lips, or ears. Dr. Wald performs reconstruction on areas that have undergone cancer removal. This is done to restore the aesthetic appearance of the skin. Common reconstruction techniques include:

  • Scar revision
  • Transferred tissue flaps  
  • Prosthetics

 

If you need to have a lesion tested for cancer, need a lesion removed, or need reconstruction after treatment, schedule your consultation with Dr. Wald today. Contact our office at (714) 312-3549 or fill out our online contact form here for additional information.

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Robert Wald, MD
100 E. Valencia Mesa Drive, Suite 300
Fullerton, CA 92835


Phone: 714-312-3549
Fax: 714-738-1862