Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with one in five Americans developing some form of skin cancer during their lifetime.
Fair-skinned, blond, or red-haired people with blue or green eyes are most at risk. In fact, if you are fair skinned and live to age 65, you have a 40%-50% chance of having at least one skin cancer.
Most skin cancers are either basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma, which are most often cured by surgical removal. These cancers commonly occur in sun-exposed areas, particularly the head and neck region. Though the cancer often presents as a sore that flakes, bleeds or doesn’t heal, it can also appear as a pearly, raised area, a flat scaly spot or even a white, waxy scar. On the other hand, melanoma, which forms from the pigment producing cells in our skin, which are part of the body’s neuroendocrine system, can be deadly if not diagnosed and treated early. As a general rule if you have a skin mole that has changed in appearance or is irregularly shaped, contains many colors, or is larger than the size of a pencil eraser, you should have a dermatologist evaluate it. Most moles develop in youth or young adulthood. It's unusual to acquire a mole in the adult years.
The good news is that cutting edge skin cancer management can now provide patients with substantially higher cure rates using Mohs surgery techniques, which are performed exclusively by specially trained dermatologic surgeons. Additionally, many Mohs surgeons partner with facial plastic surgeons to reconstruct the most challenging and complex facial defects. These surgeons can minimize deformities by employing the latest reconstructive methods as well as their artistic sensibilities. This is particularly important in the face, since our faces define who we are. Well-done facial cancer reconstruction is critical to maintain a person’s sense of wholeness and to preserve function of vital structures such as the eyelid, nose and lip areas.
To best serve the community, Marietta Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Center and Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics Center have created an integrated, one stop resource for almost all skin cancer patients. By offering general dermatologic surveillance, Mohs surgery with an on site full service dermatopathology laboratory, and facial plastic surgery reconstructive services in one free-standing modern facility, they successfully treat thousands of people annually. This is a very unique resource, which is available in only a few places throughout the entire country.
Skin cancer rates have increased more than 75% between 1992 and 2006. Stay out of the sun and tanning beds and wear a broad spectrum sun protectant with SPF 30 or greater every day of the year...it could save your life or at least save you a great deal of grief, anxiety and potential disfigurement. Prevention is always better than treatment. But if you find a skin lesion that concerns you or have recently been diagnosed with skin cancer, be assured that the expertise to provide you the best care anywhere is just around the corner.