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FAQs About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is an equal-opportunity disease. It doesn't care who you are or what you have, it can happen to you. If you have concerns about skin cancer, Dr. Thomas Gallagher of Boulder Valley Center for Dermatology in Lafayette, CO, serving residents of Lafayette, Boulder, and Brighton, CO has a practice that provides a wide variety of services, including skin cancer screening.

What are the most common types of skin cancer?

The most common type of cancer in the United States is skin cancer. Squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma are the most frequently seen forms of skin cancer. These two types of skin cancer are very treatable and have a great success rate. The third type is malignant melanoma, which is much harder to treat and has a much lower success rate. Of all the three, it is malignant melanoma that most often leads to death. 

How to prevent skin cancer?

While skin cancer may be the most prevalent type of skin cancer, it is also the most preventable, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. They suggest a program to alleviate skin cancer in the world. It begins with practicing safe sun, which means applying the appropriate sunscreen, wearing clothing that protects you from the sun, and looking for shade where possible. Additionally, do self-exams and get your skin professionally screened by a dermatologist. 

What are the treatment options?

The treatment options for skin cancer depend on the type of cancer that it is and the stage it is at. Cancerous tissue can be removed with cryosurgery, which is a procedure that freezes the tissue. Cancer may just be surgically removed and if the cancerous layers are removed one layer at a time, this is referred to as Mohs micrographic surgery.  

What should I be looking for at home when it comes to skin cancer?

To check yourself for any evidence of skin cancer, look at your body in a full-length mirror. You need to lift your arms over your head and check under your arms. Look at your legs, behind your knees, under your feet, and between your toes. Use a handheld mirror to check your neck and your head and then your back and buttocks. If you see anything that looks odd, give your dermatologist a call. 

For skin cancer care, Dr. Gallagher of Boulder Valley Center for Dermatology in Lafayette, CO, serving residents of Lafayette, Boulder, and Brighton, CO offers a variety of professional treatments. Call his office at (303) 604-1444 to make an appointment for an evaluation.

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