Skin Cancer Specialist

Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center -  - Dermatologist

Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center

Dermatologists & Mohs Surgeons located in Glen Allen, VA

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and can be dangerous if it’s left untreated. Routine skin cancer screenings with Patricia O’Connor, MD, and the expert team at Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center in Glen Allen, Virginia, ensure early detection and treatment to prevent complications. Call the Richmond-area office or send us a message to book an appointment on our contact page.

Skin Cancer Q & A

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is abnormal skin cell growth that often occurs in response to sun exposure. Squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma are the three main types of skin cancer. Routine skin cancer screenings are the best way to detect these diseases before they cause serious problems for your health.

The team at Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center performs full-body screenings to find potential skin cancer. All of their providers have taken additional courses in dermoscopy – the use of a handheld dermatoscope – to better assess an individual lesion’s risk of malignancy. They have a Mohs surgeon in the office who can treat complicated skin cancers or cancer located in sensitive and cosmetically concerning areas.

What are the symptoms of skin cancer?

Signs and symptoms to watch out for that may indicate you have skin cancer include:

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinomas are most common on sun-exposed skin, including your face and neck. It might look like a flesh-colored scar, scabbed or bleeding sore, waxy bump, or pearly lesion.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinomas might appear as a scaly, crusted lesion or firm, red nodule. You may notice it on your ears, face, hands, or other sun-exposed areas of the body. Typically, they are preceded by scaling patches called actinic keratoses.

Melanoma

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and can even appear on skin rarely exposed to the sun like the groin or soles of the feet. It might look like a large mole with dark specks, a mole that changes in color or size, a bleeding mole, or a lesion with an irregular border. It can appear black, red, pink, bluish, or white, and might burn, itch, bleed, or feel painful.

What are the risk factors for skin cancer?

While skin cancer can happen to anybody, risk factors for developing it include:

  • A history of sunburns, especially blistering sunburns
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Fair skin
  • More than 50 moles or a history of atypical moles
  • Actinic keratoses (rough, scaly patch on your skin)
  • Living in a sunny climate
  • Family or personal history of skin cancer
  • A weak immune system
  • Exposure to radiation or toxins

The best way to lower your risk of skin cancer is by protecting your skin from the sun. Use sunscreen year-round and wear protective hats and clothing. Steer clear of tanning beds. 

Perform routine at-home skin checks in addition to skin cancer screening exams with experts at Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center.

How is skin cancer diagnosed?

Your dermatologist will evaluate your skin clinically and inspect suspicious lesions with a dermatoscope. After reviewing your symptoms and medical history, they might remove an entire suspicious-looking lesion or part of the lesion with a procedure called a skin biopsy, and send it to a dermatopathologist for microscopic analysis. Skin cancer requires a microscopic evaluation for diagnosis. 

How is skin cancer treated?

Treatment of skin cancer depends on the type of skin cancer, the size or degree of skin involvement, and the location on the body. Depending on these factors treatments range from more conservative to more aggressive and include: 

  • Excisional surgery
  • Mohs surgery
  • Curettage and electrodesiccation
  • Immune-modulating topicals

**During Mohs surgery, your doctor removes skin growths one layer at a time,  checking the margins under the microscope while you wait. 

If skin cancer has spread, an interdisciplinary approach to your treatment will be developed with an oncologist. 

Early detection is critical, so don’t let skin cancer go undetected. Book an appointment with Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center by phone or send us a message to book an appointment on our contact page.

References and Resources:

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/skin-cancer.html 

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/types/common 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/skin-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20377605