When strange growths appear on your skin, or if you notice major changes in your skin color, texture, or looks, you should visit a doctor to have your skin examined and tested for skin cancer. Skin cancer is extremely common and can be caused by too much exposure to the sun, but it is also highly treatable. If you are nervous about going through the necessary treatment after being diagnosed with skin cancer, here are three important things you should know.
It Will Typically Be Completed Through Outpatient Services
In most cases, your doctor will suggest using a treatment plan that is performed through outpatient services. This could be right at your doctor's office, or it could mean visiting a specialized clinic to have the work done. While it will require anesthesia, the procedure is not usually painful. The length of time required to complete the process will depend on the following two factors:
- The treatment option used to remove the skin cancer cells. Radiation is one treatment option used, and this option will usually take longer than most other methods.
- The number of areas on your body that must be treated. If there is only one spot, the procedure will take less time than if there are 10 areas to treat.
It Is Best To Get Treated Soon
The second important thing to know about treating skin cancer is that it is best to have it treated soon. In other words, when your doctor takes a biopsy of your skin and finds that it contains cancerous cells, you should not hesitate in getting treatment. By treating it quickly, your risks of it spreading will be a lot lower.
When cancerous cells on the skin remain there for any length of time, they can spread. If they spread from your outer skin into your body, you could have a much bigger problem.
There are various forms of skin cancer, and the worst form is called melanoma. Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that is harder to treat than other types. In fact, approximately 10,130 people are expected to die in 2016 from this form of skin cancer. The other two common types, basil cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are much more common; however, people rarely die from these types. This is because they are easier to treat and are not as likely to spread to other parts of the body.
There Are Several Types Of Treatment Options Available
The type of treatment your doctor suggests will be based on the type and severity of your condition. In many cases, doctors will remove the cancerous cells with a scalpel. This simply involves cutting off the growths or affected areas with a surgical knife. Cryosurgery is another treatment plan used, and this option involves freezing the areas off with liquid nitrogen. Doctors are also able to treat skin cancer with lasers. The light and energy from a laser is able to destroy the bad cells on the skin.
There are also times when a doctor might suggest using radiation to kill the cancerous cells. This option is often used for people that cannot go through surgical procedures for health reasons, and it may also be used when the cancerous cells have spread to other parts of the body.
A lot of people develop minor cases of skin cancer, and fortunately it is treatable. If you have any strange growths or changes on your skin, you should contact a doctor to schedule an appointment to have your skin examined and tested. You may find out that it is not cancer; but if it is cancer, at least you can get the treatment you need quickly.
For more information, contact a practice like Countryside Dermatology & Laser Center.