Approximately 1 in 5 people in the United States will develop skin cancer during their lifetime, and if you’re among this number you can find expert care at the Coastal Cancer Center offices located throughout the Grand Strand area of South Carolina. As the area leader in services for blood diseases and cancer, their four locations in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Loris, and Murrells Inlet provide state-of-the-art services for skin cancer treatment. For more information on skin cancer diagnosis and treatment, call Coastal Cancer Center today.
Skin Cancer Q & A
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. This type of cancer generally starts on areas of your skin exposed to the sun but can occur anywhere on your body.
The three most prevalent types of skin cancer are:
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Anyone can develop skin cancer, but your risks are higher if you have fair skin, a history of sunburns, and excessive exposure to the sun or other sources of ultraviolet (UV) light.
What causes skin cancer?
Skin cancer usually develops when skin cells experience DNA damage from UV radiation. This type of light is found in the sun and tanning beds.
Because you can develop skin cancer in areas of your body that aren’t exposed to light, additional factors might also trigger this disease, such as:
- Exposure to toxic substances, like radiation or arsenic
- Conditions that weaken your immune system
- A family or personal history of skin cancer
You can reduce your risk of developing skin cancer by avoiding sun exposure when the sun is at its highest, using broad-spectrum sunscreens year-round, and wearing protective clothing.
How is skin cancer diagnosed and treated?
To reach a skin cancer diagnosis, your doctor examines your skin and performs a skin biopsy to test suspicious-looking tissue. Based on your diagnosis, your doctor might recommend additional tests to determine the extent of your condition.
Your provider develops a personalized approach to treating your skin cancer based on its type, depth, size, and location. Some skin cancers, they’re small enough that your initial biopsy is the only treatment you need. Additional skin cancer treatments might include:
- Freezing: uses liquid nitrogen to remove cancerous tissue
- Excisional surgery: cuts out the diseased tissue and a portion of healthy skin
- Mohs surgery: removes your cancer a layer at a time until no abnormal cells are present
- Cryotherapy: removes the cancerous growth and then destroys remaining cancer cells with an electric needle
- Radiation therapy: targets the cancer cells with high-powered energy
- Chemotherapy: special systemic drugs eliminate skin cancers that have spread to other parts of your body
Your oncologist might also recommend photodynamic or biological therapies. These treatments use laser lights and drugs or your body’s immune system to destroy cancer cells.
Call Coastal Cancer Center to schedule an appointment today to learn more.