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Melanoma is Not the Only Skin Cancer to Be Concerned With

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Sunscreen Melanoma

It’s a well-known fact that melanomas are dangerous skin cancers that need to be dealt with early in order to avoid the worst case scenario, which is quite possibly death. However, the same goes for basal cell carcinomas (BBC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), which are two other equally threatening skin cancers.

Similarly to melanomas, these two cancers will severely ravage your body if not discovered and attended to early enough. Research by the University Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania have shown that a portion of both cancer types, known as “aggressive nonmelanoma cancers,” spread at tremendous rates when left untreated. The truth of the matter is that these cancer types, without proper medical care, can kill an individual in both the short and long run.

These cancers grow on the facial parts of the body and can be rather large so even removing them tends to disfigure an individual substantially. It is for this reason that medical professionals treating these conditions tend to select methods that are less invasive and work over a long period of time. However, with the rapid growth of “aggressive nonmelanoma cancers” and the depth to which these cancers affect the skin, the risk of reoccurrence may be higher.

Prompt treatment is the best method of handling skin cancers since other issues develop as time progresses, and the chances of recovery deteriorate. Typical problems associated with “aggressive nonmelanoma cancers” include facial weakness, paralysis, recurrence, and the spreading of cancers to lymph nodes.

Surgical treatment may be required for both cancers include standard surgical treatment and Mohs micrographic surgery. Despite the fact that Mohs surgery is the least damaging to the face, it is also more likely to result in recurrence according to the Pennsylvania study. On the other hand, standard surgery is more invasive but is less likely to result in recurrence. Nonetheless, tumors can still spread in both cases.

Monthly examination of the skin to look out for warning signs of aggressive nonmelanoma cancers is recommended. If you notice any of the following traits, visit your dermatologist immediately:

  • Lesions of more than 2cm in size
  • Tumors that change size or shape
  • Recurrence of basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas
  • All cancers that occur in the zone between the eyes, ears and nose

In addition, people with a family history of skin cancer are advised to be more vigilant than others and remember that in any case, such cancers usually respond best when treated soon after detection.

If you believe you may have any of the above symptoms, get treatment as soon as possible and request an appointment at one of our three locations in Northern Virginia:  Tysons Corner (Vienna), Woodbridge, or Stafford.

Dr. Amir Bajoghli

About Dr. Amir Bajoghli

Dr. Amir Bajoghli became Associate Clinical professor of Dermatology at Virginia Commonwealth University. He also holds academic appointments at Georgetown University Schools of Medicine and has been named top doctor by Washingtonian and Northern Virginia Magazine. He is currently practicing as a dermatologist and owner of Skin & Laser Surgery Center PC with offices in Tysons Corner, Woodbridge, and Stafford Virginia.

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