Skin cancer refers to the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of skin cells. One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Risk factors include pale skin, family history of melanoma, being over 40 years old and regular sun exposure.
The most common skin cancers are:
Basal cell carcinoma - Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer and accounts for over 75 percent of all skin cancer cases in the United States. This type of cancer rarely spreads and can usually be removed easily but is still a serious condition that requires prompt treatment. This type of tumor rarely spreads beyond the primary site.
Squamous cell carcinoma - Squamous cell carcinoma is a common form of skin cancer that affects over 250,000 people in the United States each year. It does not cause pain or any other symptoms, but develops as a growth on the skin, or a non-healing sore, usually in sun-exposed areas. This type of tumor rarely spreads beyond the primary site.
Melanoma - Accounting for more than 80 percent of all skin cancer deaths, melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Early detection and treatment greatly increase the likelihood of total freedom from melanoma. Melanoma is typically treated by surgical removal. Depending on the depth of the melanoma as determined by a biopsy (usually done by the dermatologist), a sentinel lymph node biopsy may be indicated.
Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy - The "Sentinel node" is the first lymph node or nodes that drain the skin in the area that a melanoma is located. It is usually the first lymph node to trap cancer cells if they leave the melanoma, and spread. By mapping the appropriate lymph node basin with lymphoscintigraphy, the sentinel node can be identified at surgery, and removed. If the lymph node or nodes are without tumor, then, no further surgery is needed -- the lymph nodes are likely without any cancerous spread. If the lymph node has cancer cells, then a more radical lymph node removal will be necessary.
If you are interested in learning more about Skin Cancer, call 818-226-9030 today to schedule an appointment.