Most often caused by overexposure to the sun, skin cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that can occur on any area of the body. Skin cancer, one of the most common forms of cancer, affects more than one million Americans each year. Skin cancer is usually very treatable with high cure rates as long as it is detected early. Once you have skin cancer, your chances for developing it again increase significantly, so self examinations and routine doctor visits are critical components of recovery.

Who is at risk for developing skin cancer?

Anyone can develop skin cancer, but those with fair skin, light hair, and eyes are at higher risk. People with a history of sunburns or excessive sun exposure are also at increased risk.

How can I prevent skin cancer?

To prevent skin cancer, it is important to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays by wearing protective clothing, using sunscreen with a high SPF, and seeking shade when the sun is strongest.

Is skin cancer curable?

Skin cancer is often curable if it is caught and treated early.

Actual Patients of Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Care

Patient 1

Skin cancer on upper lip before MOHS surgery

Before Mohs Surgery

Skin cancer on lip open wound post MOHS surgery

Open Wound After Mohs

Skin cancer on lip post MOHS surgery closure

Wound Closure After Mohs

Skin cancer on lip post MOHS surgery 2 months

6 Months After Mohs

Patient 2

Skin cancer on face near nose pre MOHS surgery

Before Mohs Surgery

Skin cancer on face open wound post MOHS surgery

Open Wound After Mohs

Skin cancer on face post MOHS surgery closure

Wound Closure After Mohs

Skin cancer on face near nose after 5 months

6 Months After Mohs

What are the causes of Skin Cancer

The top layer of your skin, the epidermis, provides a protective layer of skin cells that your body continually sheds. These cells typically develop and slough off in an orderly fashion, a process controlled by DNA.  When the DNA sustains damage, often from the sun, changes occur in the process and new cells can grow out of control, forming a mass of cancer cells. UVA and UVB rays produced by the sun cause the most damage to the skin, but other factors, such as heredity and toxic chemicals, can contribute to the development of skin cancer.

What are the symptoms of Skin Cancer

 Usually skin cancer appears on the areas that receive the most sun exposure, including the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms, hands and legs, but it can occur in other areas. Follow the “ABCDE” rule to identify areas of skin you should have examined:

  • A for asymmetry
    A mole or growth that looks irregular in shape when divided equally
  • B for border
    Edges that look blurry, notched or jagged
  • C for color
    Changes in the color of a growth or mole such as darkening, spreading of color, loss of color or the appearance of multiple colors
  • D for diameter
    Larger than 1/4 inch in diameter or sudden, dramatic growth
  • E for evolving
    Watch for unusual crusting, bleeding, changes in appearance or a sore that will not heal

What are the treatment for Skin Cancer

If your dermatologist finds cancer, or precancerous cells known as actinic keratoses, therapy will depend on the depth, size, type and location of the lesions. Usually, skin cancer removal requires only a local anesthetic and can be performed as an outpatient procedure. Often removal of the affected area is all that is needed.

Treatment options include:

  • Excisional surgery to cut out the cancerous tissue with a margin of healthy skin
  • Cryosurgery – freezing the lesions with liquid nitrogen
  • Laser therapy to vaporize the growth
  • Mohs surgery to remove larger, recurring or difficult-to-treat skin cancers
  • Radiation therapy for areas where surgery is not advisable
  • Chemotherapy when skin cancer spreads to other areas

How to help prevent Skin Cancer

Most of the time, making smart choices can help prevent skin cancer from occurring. These tips can help keep you safe:

  • Apply sunscreen all year long
  • Avoid the sun while taking sun-sensitizing medications
  • Cover your skin with long clothes
  • Do not use tanning beds or lamps
  • Report any changes in your skin to the doctor
  • Schedule regular skin exams
  • Stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wear hats and sunglasses

FAQ About Skin Cancer

How is skin cancer diagnosed?

A dermatologist can diagnose skin cancer by examining the affected area and performing a biopsy, in which a small sample of skin is removed and examined under a microscope.

What should I do if I notice a suspicious mole or spot on my skin?

If you notice a mole or spot on your skin that is changing in size, shape, or color, or that is bleeding or itching, it is important to see a dermatologist for an evaluation.

How often should I see a dermatologist for skin cancer screenings?

It is recommended that you see a dermatologist at least once a year for a skin cancer screening, or more frequently if you have a family history of skin cancer or are at high risk due to excessive sun exposure.

Is there a dermatologist near me in Bakersfield that offers treatment for Skin Cancer?

Yes. At our Bakersfield dermatology office we offer treatment for Skin Cancer to patients from Bakersfield and the surrounding area. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.