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Skin Cancer Treatment in NJ, CT, and MD

Skin cancer, though dangerous, is highly treatable. The medical oncologists of Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA) have extensive experience treating melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. They use the latest evidence-based therapies to provide patients throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area with compassionate and advanced care for skin cancer.

Know the Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is caused by the irregular development and growth of skin cells. Skin cancer is relatively common in the United States. About 20% of people are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer by age 70.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays via the sun or tanning beds greatly increases a person’s risk of skin cancer. Experiencing even a few sunburns, particularly those marked by blistering, can double the chances of developing skin cancer later in life. Other skin cancer risk factors include:

  • Having relatively light or pale skin color and tone
  • Blue, green, or pale-colored eyes
  • Red or light-colored hair
  • An abundance of moles or lesions on the skin
  • Skin that freckles, burns, or reddens with sun exposure  
  • Personal history of skin cancer or other forms of cancer
  • Genetics and family history
Physician examining back of person with many moles

Detecting Skin Cancer Early: See It to Stop It

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using the ABCDE method for skin cancer self-examinations. This approach is an acronym that stands for:

  • Asymmetry: Moles that do not have matching sides
  • Border: Moles that have uneven, erratic-shaped borders
  • Color: Moles that consist of multiple colors
  • Diameter: Moles that have diameters that exceed the approximate size of a pencil eraser
  • Evolving: Moles that change in size, color, shape, or height with time

Other Findings that Warrant Medical Evaluation

It is important to make a habit of reviewing the skin periodically to note any changes. If any of the following symptoms are noted during a self-examination, patients should see their primary care doctor or dermatologist for diagnosis and possible treatments:

  • Unusual skin growth, such as a bump, sore, mole, or lesion that doesn’t improve
  • Patch of pale skin
  • Waxy, translucent bump
  • Brownish or reddish scar or patch of scaly skin
  • Flesh colored-lesion
  • Lesions or bumps that bleed or become crusty
  • Firm lumps on the skin that have a rough surface

Although these findings may not indicate the presence of a skin cancer, it’s best to have them checked by a medical professional.

Doctor explaining scan to patient

The Main Types of Skin Cancer

There are two main types of skin cancer – carcinoma and melanoma – both of which are found within the skin’s epidermis, or top-most layer. The five types of carcinomas are:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: This type of skin cancer occurs when squamous cells, the square-shaped cells on the skin’s outer surface, begin to mutate.
  • Basal cell carcinoma: Basal cells are found just below the squamous cells. Basal cell carcinoma occurs when these cells experience mutation and irregular growth.
  • Merkel cell carcinoma: This is a rare, though quickly metastasizing, type of carcinoma.
  • Kaposi sarcoma: Although this condition starts in the lymph nodes, it often appears on the skin in the form of irregular lesions.
  • Lymphoma: Although rare, lymphomas can form on the skin.

Melanoma is the other main type of skin cancer. It originates in the melanocytes, cells located just below the basal skin cells. Melanocytes produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. Although less than 1% of all skin cancers are melanomas, this is the deadliest form of skin cancer because of its tendency to spread to other vital organs.

How Is Skin Cancer Treated?

Early treatment, is critical to the successful management of skin cancer. For example, among people diagnosed with melanoma – the deadliest of all skin cancers – the 5-year relative survival rate is 99% for those treated in the earliest stages of the disease.  

Many factors come into play when deciding on the optimal treatment for any cancer. In the case of skin cancer, the options include:

  • Mohs micrographic surgery: This approach is generally used to treat basal and squamous cell carcinomas by excising the cancerous cells and those around them to ensure that all malignant cells are removed.
  • Curettage: The physician uses a curette – a sharp surgical instrument — to scrape off irregular skin lesions and then uses an electro-cautery needle to burn off any residual tumor cells.
  • Cryotherapy: Cryotherapy involves using liquid nitrogen to freeze cancerous skin cells without incisions or damage to surrounding healthy cells.
  • Radiation: Radiation therapy generally is reserved for use in later stages of skin cancer and often is delivered in combination with other therapies. It destroys cancer with high-energy wave devices.
  • Chemotherapy uses toxic drugs to kill cancer cells. Patients receive these treatments intravenously, by injection into specific areas of the body, or by swallowing pills or liquids taken by mouth.
  • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy is similar to chemotherapy, is a fairly new approach. As their name implies, targeted therapies act against specific mutations driving cancer growth, and so have an effect only on cells with these mutations rather than on nearby healthy cells.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapies harness the power of the body’s own immune system to identify and attack cancerous cells. Immunotherapy has become a prominent component of the treatment plan for advanced melanoma in recent years.

Consult Regional Cancer Care Associates About Skin Cancer

The medical oncologists of Regional Cancer Care Associates have extensive experience and expertise treating melanoma and advanced forms of other types of skin cancer. For compassionate treatment for cancer or blood disorders, patients can visit one of RCCA’s many office locations across New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area or can request an appointment

Innovative, proactive, personalized care for skin cancer

From empowering you with information and tools to fully understand skin cancer, to treating it quickly and comprehensively, RCCA is committed to your care. As one of the nation’s largest cancer physician networks, we have the reach, the resources and the localized accessibility to treat your very individualized needs with top-quality care and unfailing compassion.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (844) 346-7222. You can also schedule an appointment by calling the RCCA location nearest you.

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