Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are, together, the most common types of cancer people in the United States develop, with the latter being the most common of the two. As many as one in four people in America will get one of these non-melanoma skin cancers at some point in their lives, with some people developing a BCC or SCC multiple times. While heredity does play a role in how susceptible someone is to developing non-melanoma skin cancer, far and away the leading cause of these carcinomas is exposure to the sun.
Every time you get a sunburn, your skin is damaged a bit, and while the redness and pain will resolve and go away, skin damaged repeatedly by the sun's UV light grows ever more likely to develop non-melanoma skin cancer in the years ahead. The best way to prevent squamous or basal cell carcinoma development is to wear a high UPF sunblock whenever you can and, better yet, to physically cover your skin with clothing and to wear hats outside and to consider UV-blocking window tint for cars and for your home as well.
But it can be difficult to avoid a lot of sun exposure in lovely, sunny San Diego, so skin cancer treatment becomes top of mind for many Southern Californians at some point. First things first: before you can look for San Diego skin cancer specialists to help treat your BCC or SCC, you need to know what non-melanoma skin cancer looks like.
If you punch in "skin cancer pictures" into your web browser, you are going to see images of skin cancer symptoms that often look little to nothing alike. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas present themselves in different ways on different bodies and even on different parts of the same body, so if you don't spot irregular moles, often thought of as the primary symptom of skin cancer, don't assume you're in the clear.
BCC and SCC can indeed present as odd, misshapen moles often of varied color, but these skin cancers also shown up as flaky patches of waxen skin, as small sores that ooze for extended periods and won't heal properly, or as raised bumps that may range from an angry red color to a paler, shiny pinkish hue.
When in doubt, get to a San Diego skin cancer doctor immediately, because the sooner you catch non-melanoma skin cancer, the better the chance your squamous or basal cell carcinoma prognosis will be nothing to fear.
Among the options for squamous and basal cell carcinoma removal San Diego doctors have at their disposal are things ranging from cryosurgery to freeze cancer cells off the body to laser surgery to destroy carcinomas with concentrated light and heat to topical applications to more traditional excisions surgery where the BCC or SCC is simply cut out.
But in San Diego doctors tend to trust two other types of intervention the most: these are Mohs surgery and Superficial Radiation Therapy, both of which can achieve a stellar 98% cure rate when the skin cancer is caught early enough.
Mohs surgery involves precise removal of cancer cells using a surgical implement followed by immediate testing at a lab housed in the medical facility to see how much more (if any) tissue needs to be removed and to determine once the entirety of the cancer has been cut out. Mohs surgery has long been trusted by skin cancer specialists, but it's not the best skin cancer treatment for everyone. It cannot be used safely on people with clotting or other blood issues, and may not be suitable for use on a carcinoma that was previously treated but not fully removed.
Many San Diego skin cancer doctors turn to Superficial Radiation Therapy, or SRT, because it achieve a parity of a 98% cure rate when applied with devices like the FDA cleared SRT-100 from Sensus Healthcare, eradicating carcinomas in almost every case.
SRT is quite safe and is in fact so minimally pain-inducing that it is performed without anesthetics in almost every instance. The treatments are outpatient undertakings, with the patient coming to the doctor's office for a session then leaving to get on with his or her day, no side effects involved. SRT may require several closely-spaced interventions to be fully effective, but it is a trusted, safe, and reliable non-melanoma skin cancer cure.