Skin cancer is a topic of interest for any person living in a sunny locale such as California. Today, we are fortunate to have greater awareness about the damage of sun exposure than we did a few decades ago. We are fortunate to have quality sunscreen products available, and the knowledge of how to use them properly to better protect our skin from abnormal cell growth. This is all progress, but we can still do better.
We may know that skin cancer is the most frequently form of the disease. We may know that melanoma is a type of skin cancer that we don’t want to experience. This is where we often stop. If a growth appears are seems abnormal, what often happens is we naturally wish to deny that it could be skin cancer. This is fascinating, considering we can treat most skin cancers when caught early. Nonetheless, it’s very common to procrastinate in obtaining a formal diagnosis of skin growths.
It is completely understandable to be frightened about the potential for growth to be cancerous at all, let alone melanoma skin cancer. It is not understandable, though, to put off getting proper care. In our Fresno dermatology office, we perform comprehensive skin examinations and have special training in the various methods of skin cancer treatment, including Mohs micrographic surgery. We encourage patients to schedule an appointment right away if they notice unusual characteristics in any growth.
The Value Of Early Care
Experts cannot overstate the value of early detection, especially in cases of melanoma skin cancer. Stage 0 melanoma, in which a growth is in situ, is the optimum time for treatment. This is because cancerous cells are in their most localized state. The nature of skin cancer is measured by the expansion of cancerous cells. Stages I and II involve greater areas of tissue, usually deeper beneath the epidermis. Proper treatment for each of these stages usually results in greater than 95% success, which is ideal. Beyond this point, it is more likely that a melanoma tumor will leak malignant cells into the lymphatic fluid. This is where they can then spread to lymph nodes and distant organs. Research indicates a dramatic drop in treatment success rates when cancer like melanoma metastasizes.