Skin Cancer Treatment at Denver Dermatology Center
Skin cancers detected early and removed promptly are almost always curable and cause minimal scarring.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is typically caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sun exposure or tanning beds. Intense UV exposure can lead to DNA mutations, which can make skin cells multiply too rapidly and form malignant tumors. The good news is that when treated early, it is almost always curable. However, if it is diagnosed and treated too late, it can spread to other areas of the body and become fatal.
Melanomas resemble moles or originate from moles, but differ in texture or appearance, often changing over time. To recognize them in yourself or a loved one, familiarize yourself with these ABCDEs of melanomas:
|A||Asymmetry: The two halves of a mole do not match.|
|B||Borders: Edges appear uneven or jagged, not smooth.|
|C||Color: Instead of solid pigmentation, they contain a variety of colors, or shades of one color.|
|D||Diameter: They are typically bigger than other moles, measuring larger than a pencil eraser.|
|E||Evolving: Unlike other moles, they change in shape, size, color, and texture over time, possibly bleeding, itching, or forming a crust.|
What is the treatment?
Depending on the tumor size and when it is detected treatment is customized to each patient’s needs. In general, thin melanomas are surgically removed (also called excised or resected) during an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia. Stitches remain in for 1 or 2 weeks, and scars gradually fade.
Some patients may need more aggressive treatment with a sentinel lymph node biopsy during tumor resection. For these higher-risk patients, we collaborate with cancer specialists at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center.
What are other skin cancers?
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer, and though it can grow and become disfiguring, it rarely metastasizes to other areas of the body.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer. It can grow and spread, sometimes rapidly, to other areas of the body. Left untreated, it can become disfiguring and even fatal.
Dr. Muldrow performs skin cancer treatment addressing basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.
Skin cancers can be difficult to identify because they share many characteristics of non-cancerous skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, or warts. If you are concerned about any growth or change in your skin, visit a board-certified dermatologist for screening.
What types of outpatient treatment exist for skin cancer?
Multiple factors are considered when choosing one of the following outpatient melanoma and skin cancer treatments:
- Excisional surgery
- Topical and oral medications
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT)