When it comes to skin cancer treatment, you need to remember the old words of wisdom that a stitch in time saves nine. While there may not be one single best option for skin cancer treatment, no matter what path toward a cure you and your Albany skin cancer dermatologist choose, the faster you commence treatment, the better your chances of a successful cure that will let you get back to your life as soon as possible and with no long term effects from your skin cancer.
When you set out to find a skin cancer doctor near me in the greater Albany, New York area, you should be looking for a healthcare team ready to commence treatment right away as well as for skin cancer doctors who will consider your concerns and wishes for treatment, because there are multiple courses of action to take for treating non-melanoma skin cancer, and depending on the progression of skin cancer, one treatment may be more viable than another.
First, you need to understand more of background of the disease y0u may well be facing or that you will help a loved one cope with -- that way you can make more informed choices when the time comes for medical intervention.
Almost every adult American, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, can get skin cancer. Both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers afflict people with lighter skin tone more often than people with darker skin, but anyone can get skin cancer. A family history of cancer does increase your chances for devoting skin cancer slightly, but exposure to damaging UV light is far and away the leading factor when it comes to whether or not you will get skin cancer.
Even a few bad sunburns in youth can greatly increase the chance of developing skin cancer later in life, and even people as young as their 20s can get skin cancer if they have been exposed to too much UV light without proper skin protection like sunblock and covering clothing. For older residents of New York skin cancer becomes even more common even for those who have done a decent job of protecting themselves from sunlight because the years of UV light exposure add up. This is why skin cancer is most common on the face, neck, back of the hands, and arms: as these parts of the body are almost always exposed, they are more heavily damaged by UV light.
While skin cancer does not discriminate based on gender, mean are more likely to get skin cancer than women simply because their professions often have them working outdoors more than women. Anyone who spends lots of time outside, be it for work or for recreation, needs to cover their skin when possible and use sunblock on all exposed skin to help prevent the UV radiation damage that can lead to skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America today, with non-melanoma skin cancer accounting for the most cases of skin cancer. About one in four Americans (and one in four New Yorkers) will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives and many people will get skin cancer many times.
Every year, about four million cases of basal cell carcinoma skin cancer are diagnosed in America, while one million new cases of squamous cell carcinoma are diagnoses annually. Together, these two most common forms of non-melanoma skin cancer account for the most new skin cancer cases in America every year. Fortunately, non-melanoma skin cancer is also the most successfully treated skin cancer, but only if you are as aggressive in treating your skin cancer as then cancer will be in spreading if left unchecked.
Basal cell carcinoma skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer in New York and in America beyond. As noted, some four million people will get basal cell carcinoma (or BCC for short) skin cancer each year. But with prompt and proper care, basal cell skin cancer is rarely if ever fatal, and with good care you should expect a quick cure that leaves behind minimal scarring. Which is good news, as many people will have to face BCC many times in their lives.
If you see the symptoms of basal cell skin cancer, which can include raised shiny bumps that may be pink and and have a pearlescent sheen, sores that will not heal properly, and flaky patches of waxen skin. Compare your own potential basal cell cancer or precancerous symptoms to skin cancer photos online to start the process of assessing whether or not you have skin cancer, but if you have anything but total certainty you are cancer free, get to an Albany skin cancer doctor near you immediately for a professional skin check.
Left unchecked, squamous cell carcinoma skin cancer (or SCC) can be deadly. It spreads much faster and more aggressively than basal cell cancer and can penetrate down into the skin and spread to other organs. If it spreads far enough, squamous cell skin cancer will be hard to treat and likely fatal. The good news is that if caught early and treated aggressively, SCC sees similar cure rates to BCC, with almost 100% of cases resulting in a cure and without lasting side effects.
Squamous cell skin cancer symptoms you may see in images of skin cancer on other patients include angry lesions or sores that fester and ooze, a hard red nodule, or flaky patches or wounds on the lips or in the cheeks. If you see these symptoms that may be non-melanoma skin cancer, get to an Albany dermatologist ASAP and get checked out.
(And for the record, melanoma, the most deadly and dangerous form of skin cancer, usually shows up as a rapidly evolving and irregularly shaped mole, often with multiple colors. If you see melanoma symptoms, you should be at your Albany skin cancer specialist tomorrow.)
There are many different treatments for skin cancer New York dermatologists can offer. For very early stage BCC or precancerous growths, cryosurgery where the spot is frozen with careful applications of liquid nitrogen can be highly effective, as the afflicted tissues simply slough away after thawing. For other carcinomas that have yet to spread much, curettage treatment where the cancer is scraped away under local anesthetic works well. Topical skin cancer medication can also work, with such chemical therapy often assisted by specialized lighting that activates the medication.
For non-melanoma skin cancer that has evolved and changed and needs more intense treatment, there are two skin cancers dermatologists often consider the best options, so much so that a debate even rages. The question? Should you go with Mohs surgery vs. Superficial Radiation Therapy?
Mohs surgery involves removal of slim layers of cancerous tissue under the watchful eye of a microscope and the immediate testing of the tissue. Your doctor removes more and more tissue until a tested sample comes back cancer free. Mohs surgery has a 98% success rate for curing non-melanoma skin cancer and is even used for melanoma in some cases.
But because not all patients are good candidates for any type of surgery, Superficial Radiation Therapy, or SRT, is often the better choice for Albany skin cancer patients.
With a device like the FDA cleared SRT-100 Vision from Sensus Healthcare, a doctor can deliver precisely calibrated doses of radiation to the exact spot of a carcinoma. This radiation districts the DNA of the cancer cells, stopping them from dividing and killing them off. Patients need multiple SRT sessions over the course of several weeks to ensure the same 98% cure rate as Mohs surgery achieves, but with a full battery of Superficial Radiation Therapy sessions, a cure for non-melanoma skin cancer is all but assured.
And unlike with Mohs surgery or other skin cancer surgical procedures, SRT has almost no effect on surrounding healthy tissue. There is no need for pain medication and rarely even any wound care, and the tissue around the treatment site is in no danger of damage.
SRT is a very safe treatment for skin cancer and is one of the least invasive cancer treatments you can opt for. The radiation used does not penetrate to more than a maximum depth of five millimeters into the skin so healthy skin near the carcinoma will not be damaged. Using the advanced ultrasound technology of the Sensus Healthcare SRT-100 Vision device, a doctor can get a complete "map" of the cancer site before commencing treatment and can use a course of radiation treatment completely personalized to the individual patient.
You should ask your Albany New York skin cancer doctor about SRT during the very first consultation.