We offer skin cancer screening. The added benefit is that we are likely able to manage the skin cancer in the same facility that it was diagnosed with our team of experts. Not every skin cancer needs surgery. We are able to address all of your concerns and options for an individualized treatment plan.
Skin cancer is the most common form of human cancers, affecting more than one million Americans every year. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives. Skin cancers are generally curable if caught early. However, people who have had skin cancer are at a higher risk of developing a new skin cancer, which is why regular self-examination and doctor visits are imperative.
The vast majority of skin cancers are composed of three different types: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
This is the most common form of skin cancer. Basal cells reside in the deepest layer of the epidermis, along with hair follicles and sweat ducts. When a person is overexposed to UVB radiation, it damages the body’s natural repair system, which causes basal cell carcinomas to grow. These tend to be slow-growing tumors and rarely metastasize (spread). Basal cell carcinomas can present in a number of different ways:
Despite the different appearances of the cancer, they all tend to bleed with little or no cause. Eighty-five percent of basal cell carcinomas occur on the face and neck since these are areas that are most exposed to the sun.
Risk factors for basal cell carcinoma include having fair skin, sun exposure, age (most skin cancers occur after age 50), exposure to ultraviolet radiation (as in tanning beds) and therapeutic radiation given to treat an unrelated health issue.
Diagnosing basal cell carcinoma requires a biopsy — either excisional, where the entire tumor is removed along with some of the surrounding tissue, or incisional, where only a part of the tumor is removed (used primarily for large lesions).
Treatments for basal cell carcinoma include:
Squamous cells are found in the upper layer (the surface) of the epidermis. They look like fish scales under a microscope and present as a crusted or scaly patch of skin with an inflamed, red base. They are often tender to the touch. It is estimated that 250,000 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed annually, and that 2,500 of them result in death.
Squamous cell carcinoma can develop anywhere, including inside the mouth and on the genitalia. It most frequently appears on the scalp, face, ears and back of hands. Squamous cell carcinoma tends to develop among fair-skinned, middle-aged and elderly people who have a history of sun exposure. In some cases, it evolves from actinic keratoses, dry scaly lesions that can be flesh-colored, reddish-brown or yellow black, and which appear on skin that is rough or leathery. Actinic keratoses spots are considered to be precancerous.
Like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma is diagnosed via a biopsy — either excisional, where the entire tumor is removed along with some of the surrounding tissue, or incisional, where only a part of the tumor is removed (used primarily for large lesions).
Treatments for squamous cell carcinoma include:
While melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer, it is by far the most virulent. It is the most common form of cancer among young adults age 25 to 29. Melanocytes are cells found in the bottom layer of the epidermis. These cells produce melanin, the substance responsible for skin pigmentation. That’s why melanomas often present as dark brown or black spots on the skin. Melanomas spread rapidly to internal organs and the lymph system, making them quite dangerous. Early detection is critical for curing this skin cancer.
Melanomas look like moles and often do grow inside existing moles. That’s why it is important for people to conduct regular self-examinations of their skin in order to detect any potential skin cancer early, when it is treatable. Most melanomas are caused by overexposure to the sun beginning in childhood. This cancer also runs in families.
Melanoma is diagnosed via a biopsy. Treatments include surgical removal, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
The key to detecting skin cancers is to notice changes in your skin. Look for:
The American Academy of Dermatology has developed the following ABCDE guide for assessing whether or not a mole or other lesion may be becoming cancerous.
Asymmetry: Half the mole does not match the other half in size, shape or color.
Border: The edges of the mole are irregular or blurred.
Color: The mole is not the same color throughout.
Diameter: The mole is larger than one-quarter inch in size.
Elevation: The mole becomes elevated or raised from the skin.
If any of these conditions occur, please make an appointment to see one of our dermatologists right away. The doctor may do a biopsy of the mole to determine if it is or isn’t cancerous.
Roughly 90% of nonmelanoma cancers are attributable to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. That’s why prevention involves:
Acne is the most frequent skin condition in the United States. It is characterized by pimples that appear on the face, back and chest. Every year, about 80% of adolescents have some form of acne and about 5% of adults experience acne.
Acne is made up of two types of blemishes:
In normal skin, oil glands under the skin, known as sebaceous glands, produce an oily substance called sebum. The sebum moves from the bottom to the top of each hair follicle and then spills out onto the surface of the skin, taking with it sloughed-off skin cells. With acne, the structure through which the sebum flows gets plugged up. This blockage traps sebum and sloughed-off cells below the skin, preventing them from being released onto the skin’s surface. If the pore’s opening is fully blocked, this produces a whitehead. If the pore’s opening is open, this produces blackheads. When either a whitehead or blackhead becomes inflammed, they can become red pustules or papules.
It is important for patients not to pick or scratch at individual lesions because it can make them inflamed and can lead to long-term scarring.
Treating acne is a relatively slow process; there is no overnight remedy. Some treatments include:
More information about our eczema treatments coming soon.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that creates red patches of skin with white, flaky scales. It most commonly occurs on the elbows, knees and trunk, but can appear anywhere on the body. The first episode usually strikes between the ages of 15 and 35. It is a chronic condition that will then cycle through flare-ups and remissions throughout the rest of the patient’s life. Psoriasis affects as many as 7.5 million people in the United States. About 20,000 children under age 10 have been diagnosed with psoriasis.
In normal skin, skin cells live for about 28 days and then are shed from the outermost layer of the skin. With psoriasis, the immune system sends a faulty signal which speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells. Skin cells mature in a matter of 3 to 6 days. The pace is so rapid that the body is unable to shed the dead cells, and patches of raised red skin covered by scaly, white flakes form on the skin.
Psoriasis is a genetic disease (it runs in families), but is not contagious. There is no known cure or method of prevention. Treatment aims to minimize the symptoms and speed healing.
There are five distinct types of psoriasis:
About 80% of all psoriasis sufferers get this form of the disease. It is typically found on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. It classically appears as inflamed, red lesions covered by silvery-white scales.
This form of psoriasis appears as small red dot-like spots, usually on the trunk or limbs. It occurs most frequently among children and young adults. Guttate psoriasis comes on suddenly, often in response to some other health problem or environmental trigger, such as strep throat, tonsillitis, stress or injury to the skin.
This type of psoriasis appears as bright red lesions that are smooth and shiny. It is usually found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts and in skin folds around the genitals and buttocks.
Pustular psoriasis looks like white blisters filled with pus surrounded by red skin. It can appear in a limited area of the skin or all over the body. The pus is made up of white blood cells and is not infectious. Triggers for pustular psoriasis include overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, irritating topical treatments, stress, infections and sudden withdrawal from systemic (treating the whole body) medications.
One of the most inflamed forms of psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis looks like fiery, red skin covering large areas of the body that shed in white sheets instead of flakes. This form of psoriasis is usually very itchy and may cause some pain. Triggers for erythrodermic psoriasis include severe sunburn, infection, pneumonia, medications or abrupt withdrawal of systemic psoriasis treatment.
People who have psoriasis are at greater risk for contracting other health problems, such as heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes. It has also been linked to a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer, depression, obesity and other immune-related conditions.
Psoriasis triggers are specific to each person. Some common triggers include stress, injury to the skin, medication allergies, diet and weather.
Psoriasis is classified as Mild to Moderate when it covers 3% to 10% of the body and Moderate to Severe when it covers more than 10% of the body. The severity of the disease impacts the choice of treatments.
Mild to moderate psoriasis can generally be treated at home using a combination of three key strategies: over-the-counter medications, prescription topical treatments and light therapy/phototherapy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved of two active ingredients for the treatment of psoriasis: salicylic acid, which works by causing the outer layer to shed, and coal tar, which slows the rapid growth of cells. Other over-the-counter treatments include:
Prescription topicals focus on slowing down the growth of skin cells and reducing any inflammation. They include:
Controlled exposure of skin to ultraviolet light has been a successful treatment for some forms of psoriasis. Three primary light sources are used:
Treatments for moderate to severe psoriasis include prescription medications, biologics and light therapy/phototherapy.
This includes acitretin, cyclosporine and methotrexate. Your doctor will recommend the best oral medication based on the location, type and severity of your condition.
A new classification of injectable drugs, biologics are designed to suppress the immune system. These tend to be very expensive and have many side effects, so they are generally reserved for the most severe cases.
Controlled exposure of skin to ultraviolet light has been a successful treatment for some forms of psoriasis. Three primary light sources are used:
Quick Facts about XTRAC
Since receiving FDA clearance in 2000, the XTRAC Excimer Laser has come to be recognized by dermatologists worldwide as the market leader in the treatment of psoriasis and vitiligo.
XTRAC Lasers produce a highly effective, safe, and painless therapy by delivering a targeted, super-narrow UVB band to affected areas, resulting in effective and rapid improvement without the worry of harmful side effects of invasive, systemic agents.
Specifically XTRAC provides several key advantages when compared to other available psoriasis treatment options:
Psoriasis: Before & After with XTRAC
1. In a clinical study, patients achieved a greater than 75% repigmentation after 30 sessions. Individual results may vary.
2. Hadi S, Spencer JM., Dermatol Surg 2004.
3. Felten, Alikhan and Petronic-Rosic, JAAD, volume 65, Number 3.
Vitiligo: Before & After with XTRAC
Vitiligo is a skin condition which involves loss of melanin, the primary skin pigment, resulting in irregular white patches.
Vitiligo is not forever.
Fortunately, XTRAC treatments can minimize and, in many cases, even eliminate vitiligo depigmented patches. The XTRAC excimer laser delivers a targeted beam of UVB light and only the areas of skin affected by vitiligo receive the laser energy.
Though the laser spot size measures only 18mm x 18mm, due to rapid exposure times, relatively large, discrete areas can be treated in just 5 to 10 minutes, which is much faster than the duration of conventional phototherapy light sessions. And most importantly, XTRAC treatments achieve complete response rates faster in a higher proportion of patients.
In one clinical study, 32 patients with 55 vitiligo patches were treated with the [XTRAC] 308nm laser. All areas were treated until 75% or greater repigmentation was achieved or for a total of 30 semi-weekly sessions, whichever occurred first.1
The final analyses showed that of 21 facial spots treated, 71.5% achieved 75% or greater repigmentation. The next best responses were attained treating neck and scalp areas, of which 60% benefited with 75% or greater repigmentation.2
Other studies have concluded that when XTRAC is used as monotherapy, repigmentation rates of more than 75% are seen in more than 50% of patients butresponse rates as high as 95% have been achieved, It has also been noted that repigmentation can be seen in as few as 11 treatments.3
"Felt extremely comfortable during the entire procedure. Nursing staff was top notch. Barely visible scar!"
"Dr. Cruz was knowledgeable and helped me to understand the process in a way that made me feel at ease."
"He was energetic and showed a genuine concern for my health. I would highly recommend him."
Now’s the time to manage your damage®
Levulan® Kerastick® (aminolevulinic acid HCl) for Topical Solution, 20% (Levulan Kerastick) plus blue light illumination using the BLU-U® Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy Illuminator (Levulan PDT) is indicated for the treatment of minimally to moderately thick actinic keratosis of the face or scalp. Actinic keratoses (AKs) are rough-textured, dry, scaly patches on the skin that can lead to skin cancer. It is important to treat AKs because there is no way to tell when or which lesions will progress to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common form of skin cancer. So, now’s the time to manage your damage!
Levulan PDT, a 2-part treatment, is unique because it uses a light activated drug therapy to destroy AKs. How does it work? Levulan Kerastick Topical Solution is applied to the AK. The solution is then absorbed by the AK cells where it is converted to a chemical that makes the cells extremely sensitive to light. When the AK cells are exposed to the BLU-U Blue Light Illuminator, a reaction occurs which destroys the AK cells.
The 2-part treatment offers the following conveniences:
Levulan PDT can also fit your lifestyle:
*Patients treated with Levulan PDT should avoid exposure of the photosensitized lesions to sunlight or prolonged or intense light for at least 40 hours.