Timely detection of skin cancer can help achieve 100 percent success in its treatment. Advanced surgical dermatology and other treatments are now available to treat skin cancers.
Suncoast Skin Solutions, led by the accomplished board certified dermatologist Dr. Christopher Ewanowski, provides proven and effective skin care treatments to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brookesville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, The Villages Central Florida, Florida, and surrounding locations in this region of The Sunshine State.
In order to diagnose skin cancer, the doctor may undertake the following:
- Evaluate the Patient’s Skin: The doctor may view the patient’s skin to establish whether the skin changes could possibly be related to skin cancer. The patient may need further testing to confirm the diagnosis.
- Remove a sample of dubious looking skin for testing (also known as skin biopsy): The doctor may remove a sample of suspicious looking skin for lab tests. A biopsy can help establish if a patient has skin cancer, and if so, then what type of cancer it is.
Understanding the Extent of the Skin Cancer
In case the doctor establishes that the patient has skin cancer, they may need further tests to establish the stage (extent) of the skin cancer. Superficial skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma do not usually spread. Therefore, a biopsy, which eliminates the entire growth, is typically the only test required to determine the stage of cancer.
However, if the patient has a large squamous cell carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma or melanoma, the physician may recommend additional testing to understand the stage of cancer.
The treatment options for skin cancer and precancerous skin lesions (actinic keratoses) will differ according to the type, size, depth, and location of the lesions. In the case of small skin cancers restricted to the skin’s surface, an initial biopsy that removes the entire growth is often the only treatment a patient needs.
Options for additional treatment include:
- Freezing: The doctor may freeze actinic keratoses and certain small, initial stage skin cancers with liquid nitrogen in a process known as cryosurgery. The dead tissue will rub off when it thaws.
- Excisional surgery: This is a suitable treatment for any form of skin cancer. The doctor excises the malignant tissue as well as a surrounding margin of normal skin. In some cases, a wide excision which removes extra healthy skin around the tumor may be recommended.
- Mohs surgery: This procedure is suitable for more significant, recurring, or hard-to-treat skin cancers such as basal and squamous cell carcinomas. This technique is appropriate for areas where the conservation of as much skin as possible is necessary, such as on the nose.
- Curettage and electrodesiccation or cryotherapy: The doctor will scrape away layers of cancer cells after removing most of the growth via a device with a circular blade (known as a curet). An electric needle eliminates any remaining malignant cells. A variation of this procedure includes the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the base and edges of the treated site.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy employs powerful energy beams such as x-rays, to eliminate cancer cells. This treatment approach can be used when surgery cannot completely remove cancer.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of medication to eliminate cancer cells. In case the cancer is limited to the uppermost skin layer, the doctor may prescribe lotions or creams comprising anti-cancer agents for direct application on the skin. Systemic chemotherapy can be used in the treatment of skin cancers that have spread to other areas of the body.
- Photodynamic therapy: This treatment uses a combination of drugs and laser light to destruct cancer cells by rendering them sensitive to light.
- Biological therapy: This treatment uses the immune system of the body to destroy cancer cells.
Dr. Ewanowski’s skin care clinic is equipped to provide advanced medical and aesthetic skin care solutions to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brookesville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, The Villages Central Florida, Florida, and nearby areas in this majestic part of the nation.
SunCoast Skin Solutions Dermatology offices are located in Tampa / Hillsborough, St. Petersburg / Pinellas County, Brandon, Lutz (2 locations), Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, Largo at Bardmoor, Daytona Beach, Sarasota, and Palm Harbor, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.