• Skin and Soft Tissue Cancers

    If you or a loved one needs treatment for a skin or soft tissue cancer, we have good news. When caught early, these cancers are very treatable.

    About Skin Cancer

    The American Cancer Society estimates more than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year — making it the most common form of cancer in the U.S. In fact, about 50 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer by age 65.

    Skin cancer begins in the skin cells. Though some forms of cancer start elsewhere in the body and spread to the skin, they aren’t considered skin cancers.

    Skin Cancer Types

    Signs and Symptoms

    Most skin cancers (such as basal cell skin carcinoma and squamous cell skin carcinoma) develop on parts of your body that are exposed to the sun, making them easy to spot. But it’s important to know skin cancer can occur anywhere on your body. Checking often for any new or unusual growths is vital to staying healthy and catching anything suspicious — the earlier in its development, the better.

    You should see a dermatologist right away if you notice any of these unusual symptoms:

    • Flat, firm, pale or yellow areas that resemble scars
    • Open sores that won’t heal
    • Pink growths with raised edges and abnormal blood vessels spreading out like the spokes of a tire
    • Reddish patches that may itch, crust or bleed
    • Raised growths or lumps, sometimes with a lower area in the center
    • Small, pink or red, pearly bumps
    • Wart-like growths

    Most people have moles that developed in childhood, and almost all these moles are harmless. However, be suspicious of any moles you develop as an adult and any changes in your existing moles. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests following the ABCDE rule. If you notice any of these features, see your doctor right away:

    • A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark doesn’t match the other half.
    • B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
    • C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include different shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white or blue.
    • D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch, or the size of a pencil eraser). Note that melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.
    • E is for Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.

    Diagnosis

    Your care team can use many tests to diagnose and stage your skin or soft tissue cancer, and to better determine your treatment options. These tests include:

    • Biopsy (many types).
    • Imaging tests (x-rays, CT and PET scans, MRIs).
    • Physical exam.

    Treatment

    If you do have skin cancer, you can get the care you need, close to home. Our team of surgeons, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, dermatologists and pathologists work together to create a treatment plan to meet your specific needs. Your plan may include these advanced treatments:

    • Mohs surgery: A procedure that removes one thin layer of tissue at a time and immediately examines the cells under a microscope. If there are no cancer cells on the margins, the surgery is complete.
    • Sentinel lymph node biopsy: The lymph node where cancer is most likely to spread from a primary tumor is removed and checked for the presence of cancer cells.

    Your cancer treatment is also about more than your medical needs. That’s why we also provide social workers, support groups, nutrition services and spiritual care.

    Make an Appointment

    If you suspect you may have a skin or soft tissue cancer, or you’ve been recently diagnosed, we can help. Call 443-481-5800 to schedule a consultation with one of our dermatologists or a yearly skin cancer screening.

  • Skin Cancer Prevention

    You can help prevent skin cancer by following these simple steps: