Skin Cancer

At Sutton place Dermatology, we specialize in the most advanced and top skin cancer screening in NYC and surrounding areas. Our dermatologists offer the most up-to-date skin cancer screenings available. Over time, many patients develop various skin irregularities like skin tags, moles, or other forms of skin conditions. While most skin irregularities are either harmless, benign, or treatable with a topical ointment or procedure, some conditions require immediate care. Some skin irregularities or changes can be indicators of skin cancer or precancerous cells. In cases like this, it is vital to see a dermatologist as quickly as possible to treat any serious or dangerous skin irregularities. At Sutton Place Dermatology, we value your health and provide annual skin cancer screenings and the most advanced skin cancer treatments.

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is defined as an uncontrolled growth and production of abnormal or unhealthy skin cells. Skin cancer occurs when unrepaired DNA damage of skin cells triggers an unhealthy response, causing the skin cells to rapidly multiply and form tumors. This damage is most often inflicted on the skin through excessive exposure to ultraviolet light (tanning beds or sun tanning).

Please contact us if you experience any of the following skin cancer symptoms:

  • An asymmetric mole
  • A mole that changes color or grows
  • An irregular or blurred border around a mole
  • Moles larger than a quarter of an inch
  • A sore that does not heal
  • Changes in texture or nature of a mole (scaly, bleeding, secreting fluids)

What types of skin cancers are there?

There are four types of skin cancers and two types of precancerous growths that leave you with a higher likelihood of developing a skin cancer. The four skin cancer types include basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, merkel cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Two precancerous growths include dysplastic nevi and actinic keratosis.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most commonly occurring form of skin cancer. It is denoted by irregular, uncontrolled growths that derive from the skin’s basal cells. The basal cells of the skin line the deepest layer of the epidermis (top-most layer of skin). Basal cell carcinoma often looks like a red patch or an open sore, and it is commonly caused by an intense exposure to sunlight. Luckily, basal cell carcinoma rarely metastasizes or spreads beyond the original site.

Melanoma is one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer. It derives from unrepaired skin cells mutating to cause a rapid multiplication of cells. This rapid proliferation results in the creation of malignant tumors, which are most commonly black or brown but can appear to be pink, white, blue, red, or even purple. Fortunately, if melanoma is caught and treated early, success rates are very high, and patients can be treated quickly and effectively.

Markel cell carcinoma is an aggressive skin cancer that can be recurring in patients and is more likely to spread. Thankfully, it is a rare form of skin cancer that does not affect a large percentage of patients. Markel cell carcinoma affects the areas of skin that have been directly exposed to the sun in fair-skinned individuals over the age of fifty.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most frequently occurring skin cancer. It is a result of the multiplication of abnormal squamous cells. Squamous cells make up the majority of your top-most layer of skin. These growths appear as a scaly blotch, a sore that does not heal, or an elevated growth.

Dysplastic nevi are atypical moles that may resemble melanoma. These moles are not cancerous, but they can leave you with an increased risk of developing skin cancer in your lifetime. The more abundant these moles are leaves you with a higher chance of developing skin cancer later in life. These moles can be hereditary, and patients with these moles and / or a family history of dysplastic nevi or melanoma are at an increased risk for skin cancer and should undergo routine and preemptive skin cancer screening.

Actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis, is a scaly growth that resembles a lesion. These lesions typically appear on parts of the body that have been exposed to ultraviolet light the most. They can resemble warts and are raised or rough in texture. If actinic keratosis is left untreated, up to ten percent of patients can develop squamous cell carcinoma. In some cases, actinic keratosis can develop into basal cell carcinoma.

Skin Cancer Types & Precancerous Growths
Basal Cell Carcinoma Most common form of skin cancer. Highly treatable if detected early. Characterized by irregular, uncontrolled growth. Rarely spreads.
Melanoma One of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer. Rapid proliferation results in the formation of malignant tumors. Can be treated effectively if caught early.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma An aggressive but rare skin cancer that can recur or spread within patients. Affects fair-skinned individuals over the age of fifty most commonly.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Second most common skin cancer. Occurs from a multiplication of abnormal squamous cells. Appears as a scaly patch, an open sore, or an elevated growth.
Dysplastic Nevi Not a form of skin cancer. Atypical moles that leave a patient with a higher risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Can be treated. Patients should undergo routine skin cancer screenings to monitor these moles.
Actinic Keratosis Not a form of skin cancer. Also known as solar keratosis. A scaly, lesion-like growth. Occurs on the areas of skin most exposed to sun. If left untreated, up to ten percent of patients develop squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma.

What is a skin cancer screening like?

A visual skin cancer screening will be performed on you to check any moles or growths. In most cases, a visual exam is enough to know that you are healthy, but, in some cases, further testing or a biopsy may be needed to make a diagnosis. A skin cancer screening can help our dermatologists find any irregular growths or precancerous growths, and when skin cancer is detected early, patients experience a high level of treatability and success.

The process of a skin cancer screening is brief, as our dermatologists knows what skin growths are benign or harmless and what require more testing. Our dermatologists will visually scan your body for any irregular growths that display any worrying symptoms. Skin cancer screenings are not just for patients who are exhibiting any symptoms of skin cancer or irregular skin growths, but a skin cancer screening can be provided annually to maintain health and prevent cancer from developing unchecked.

What forms of skin cancer prevention are there?

Dermatologists suggest the use of sunscreen when you spend an elongated time in direct sunlight. When in the sun, cover up with light but protective clothing and avoid sunburns. Self-examinations for irregular skin growths are recommended, as you can be the first to detect abnormal growths, which can lead to successful treatments. Avoid the use of suntan lotions, unprotected exposure to sunlight, and ultraviolet tanning beds. Skin cancer screenings can help assure that you are healthy and exhibit no symptoms or growths of cancer.

What skin cancer treatments are there?

The treatment that will be recommended to you depends on the type of skin cancer or precancerous growth(s) you have. Precancerous growths can be treated to preemptively stave off any formation of skin cancer. As for skin cancers, most types experience a positive response to treatments, especially when caught early.

In most cases, surgery will be recommended to remove the growth, as long as surgery does not pose an immediate threat to your health. Most growth removals can be performed on an out-patient basis using a local anesthetic. Growths only on the surface of the skin may be scraped off, but growths that are deeper than the epidermis may need to be surgically removed. For basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, Mohs surgery is often used to remove the cancerous tumor. During Mohs surgery, thin layers of cancerous skin cells are removed until only cancer-free cells remain and the growth has been successfully removed from the affected area. As soon as the first cells that are removed are cancer-free, the surgery is complete. This skin cancer treatment saves as much healthy skin as possible, only removing unhealthy skin cells of the cancerous growth until it is no longer present.

How can I learn more about skin cancer and skin cancer screening?

Our dermatologists would be glad to discuss a skin cancer screening with you. To request a personal consultation with our dermatologists to discuss skin cancer screening, please request an appointment online or call 212.838.0270.

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