Surgical Dermatology - Skin Cancer Surgery

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and affects more than 3.3 million Americans every year.  Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.

Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.  One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.  Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma at least once.

Skin cancer is a growth on the skin that occurs when cells grow abnormally.  It occurs most commonly on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun, like the neck, arms, and face.  It is essential to address any abnormal growths or unusual moles on the skin as soon as they are detected to prevent a potentially life threatening form of cancer.

There are three main types of skin cancers.  Basal Cell CarcinomaSquamous Cell Carcinoma, and Malignant Melanoma.  Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer.  More than 4 million cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.  Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer.  More than 1 million cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.  Fortunately, non-melanoma cancers rarely spread to other parts of the body. They are highly treatable and curable if detected early.

Melanoma accounts for less than one percent of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.  One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 54 minutes).  An estimated 87,110 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017.  An estimated 9,730 people will die of melanoma in 2017.

The vast majority of melanomas are caused by the sun.  It starts in the melanocytes, the cells that produce skin pigment.  Because of its relationship with skin color, individuals with fair skin are at a higher risk.  Additionally, people with abnormal moles, a large number of moles, and people with a history of severe sunburns are more likely to develop melanoma.  One study found that about 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.  The estimated 5-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 98 percent in the U.S. The survival rate falls to 62 percent when the disease reaches the lymph nodes, and 18 percent when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.

On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.

Regular daily use of an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent and the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.

All types of skin cancer are more likely to be successfully treated if detected early. Signs include any change in the appearance of moles or any new growths on the skin; scaliness, bleeding or oozing of skin bumps; or any itchiness, tenderness or pain of the skin.

Routine annual skin exam by a Dermatologist is considered essential and the most proven method in early detection and early treatment of all kinds of skin cancers.

At Castle Dermatology, Dr. Peyman Ghasri and Dr. Pedram Ghasri are fully trained in detection as well as surgical dermatologic care of the various types of skin cancer.  Both doctors are confident in achieving the most optimal care in removing the skin cancer as well as in achieving the best aesthetic outcome.