Skin Cancer Screening
As the leading dermatologist in the treatment and prevention of skin cancer, Dr. Gamoth’s primary concerns is skin cancer awareness. At A to Z Dermatology, we try to make all patients aware enough of the hazards of skin cancer that they will receive/perform regular skin cancer screenings, both at the dermatologist’s office and at home.
Why is vigilant and routine skin cancer screening so necessary? Skin cancer is the rapid and uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. This growth results in tumors that are either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Skin is the largest organ and must be monitored carefully for lesions that are potentially harmful, sometimes fatally so. The best way to do this is with thorough skin cancer screening by an A to Z Dermatology Medical Provider. With skin cancer, abnormal cells are identified in three ways:
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the less serious types and make up 95% of all skin cancers. Melanoma is the most serious and causes 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Left untreated too long, it can quickly spread to other organs and become difficult to contain. With any suspicion of melanoma, seeing a dermatologist immediately is of utmost importance.
- Skin cancer has become the most prevalent cancer in Arizona.
- Skin cancer is mainly caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. (Though UV light from tanning beds is also dangerous.)
- Cumulative exposure to ultraviolet radiation over years causes basal cell and squamous cell cancers. Severe sunburns from the past are mostly responsible for melanoma.
- Skin cancer has a high cure rate if detected and treated early. The most common warning sign is a visible change on the skin, a new growth, or a change in an existing lesion or mole. Look for: A – Asymmetry. Two sides not alike B – Border. Irregular, wavy or indistinct border C – Color. Varied and inconsistent D – Dimension. Change in size E – Elevation. Patch is raised above surrounding skin
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Acne most commonly appears on your face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. Acne can be distressing and annoyingly persistent. Acne lesions heal slowly, and when one begins to resolve, others seem to crop up.
Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and lead to scarring of the skin. The good news is that effective treatments are available — and the earlier treatment is started, the lower your risk of lasting physical and emotional damage.
Your dermatologist may recommend a prescription medication you apply to your skin (topical medication) or take by mouth (oral medication).
Cryosurgery is a type of surgery that uses extreme cold to destroy abnormal tissue. The surgery uses liquid nitrogen. When liquid nitrogen has a temperature between -346 and -320 degrees Fahrenheit, it instantly freezes nearly anything it comes in contact with. In the case of human tissue, it can kill and destroy cells upon contact. Cryosurgery/Cryotherapy is commonly used as a treatment for pre-cancers, warts, and some superficial skin cancers.
Dermatitis is a general term that describes an inflammation of the skin. Although dermatitis can have many causes and occurs in many forms, this disorder usually involves an itchy rash on swollen, reddened skin.
Skin affected by dermatitis may blister, ooze, develop a crust or flake off. Examples of dermatitis include atopic dermatitis (eczema), dandruff, and rashes caused by contact with poison ivy or certain metals.
Dermatitis treatment varies, depending on the cause. Using corticosteroid creams, applying wet compresses and avoiding irritants are the cornerstones of most dermatitis treatment plans.
Hair loss (alopecia) can affect just your scalp or your entire body. It can be the result of heredity, certain medications or an underlying medical condition. Anyone — men, women and children — can experience hair loss. For some types of hair loss the hair will grow back without any treatment. For other types, medication may be required.
Psoriasis is a common skin condition that changes the life cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful.
Psoriasis treatments aim to:
Stop the skin cells from growing so quickly, which reduces inflammation and plaque formation. Remove scales and smooth the skin, which is particularly true of topical treatments that you apply to your skin. Psoriasis treatments can be divided into three main types: topical treatments, light therapy and systemic medications.
A punch biopsy is most often used for deeper skin lesions. The provider uses a skin punch tool to remove a small round piece of skin. The area removed is about the size of a pencil eraser. It includes all or part of the lesion. The area is closed with stitches, and covered with a bandage. Sutures are generally removed after two weeks.
A shave biopsy is the least invasive method of biopsying. The provider uses a small blade to remove the outermost layers of skin. The area removed includes all or part of the lesion. You do not need stitches. At the end of the procedure, medicine is applied to the area to stop any bleeding, as well as healing ointment and a Band-Aid.
Warts are growths on the skin that occur in response to a viral infection. The three most typical kinds of warts patients are diagnosed with are:
- Common warts have a raised, rough surface and can appear anywhere on your body but most often on your hands.
- Flat warts, smaller and smoother, appear in clusters on the backs of your hands, face or legs.
- Plantar warts appear on the plantar, or bottom surface, of your foot. They are flat, resemble calluses and are often painful.
The most common treatments for warts are topical medications, and liquid nitrogen.