When it comes to skin cancer, diagnosis at an early stage can have a significant outcome on the success of treatment. While it is important to familiarize yourself with the spots, bumps and patches on your skin to determine if they change, our medical team at Steele Creek Dermatology has the experience and technology to properly diagnose skin cancer as well as outline various treatment options that are available to you.
Steele Creek Dermatology serves Charlotte and surrounding cities in North Carolina. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Skin Cancer Diagnosis: How is it done?
While changes in moles, growths, or patches of dry skin may be an indication of skin cancer, it cannot be properly diagnosed based on looks alone. A dermoscope – a device used to magnify and shine light on the skin – is also used to see the skin better and allow our medical team to evaluate the pigment and structures.
If it is determined that the area of concern could be skin cancer, the lesion or part of it will be biopsied and tested for the presence of cancer cells. This is typically a fast procedure with minimal discomfort. While skin cancer cannot be diagnosed without confirmation from a biopsy, not all biopsies come back with a positive diagnosis.
How is Skin Cancer Treated?
There are many types of skin cancer treatment available. Depending on the type of skin cancer, where it is located on the body, how aggressive it is and whether it has spread to other parts of the body may all have an impact on how to most effectively treat it.
If the skin cancer has not spread, it is often possible to surgically remove it. There are three types of techniques used for the surgical removal of skin cancer:
- Excision – In this common procedure, the skin cancer is surgically cut out, along with a small margin of normal-looking skin.
- Mohs Surgery – This newer technique requires advanced training. In Mohs surgery, the skin is removed one layer at a time. The layers are then studied under a microscope for cancer cells. The procedure continues until no cancer cells are found.
- Curettage and Eectrodesiccation – Often performed on small basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, this technique involves scraping the cancer with a long, spoon-shaped tool called a curette. The remaining cancer cells and some surrounding tissue are then cauterized, or burned. This process is typically repeated three times. Although this type of removal leaves a wound, it usually heals easily without needing stitches.
During your consultation with our medical team, your health and preferences will be evaluated, and our medical team will help you determine the best route of treatment for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.