Jonathan Schreiber, MD, PhD has years of experience in diagnosing and treating skin cancer. Anyone in Norfolk, Virginia and the surrounding area who is concerned about an abnormal looking mole or growth on the skin, should come into Integrated Dermatology of Tidewater. Call to schedule your appointment or book online using the online booking tool.
There are three major types of skin cancer, each affecting different layers of the skin. The different forms of skin cancer are named after the kinds of cells each affects.
This is the most aggressive type of cancer, and the most likely to spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma occurs in the pigment cells of the skin and can form on any part of the body, regardless of past sun exposure.
This form of cancer is the most common found in people with fair skin. It occurs in the basal cell layer of the skin and is commonly found on areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun, such as the face. It rarely spreads to other parts of the body.
This form occurs in the squamous cells. In people with fair skin, it usually occurs in sun-exposed areas such as on the face, head, ears, and neck. Squamous cell skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body.
Removing the abnormal cells is typically the first step in treating skin cancer. The removal is usually an outpatient procedure. Depending on the kind of removal procedure being used, the surrounding skin, or margins will be removed as well to try to ensure that all extended strands of abnormal cells are also removed.
There is also a surgical technique called Mohs, where the abnormal growth is removed gradually and the excisions are each reviewed under a microscope to evaluate the appearance of abnormal cells. This procedure tends to take longer due to the close inspection of each cut, but is very effective at cutting out the growth while minimizing the removal of healthy skin cells. Some forms of skin cancer respond to radiation or cryotherapy, where the cells are frozen and removed.
Skin cancer occurs when the daily regeneration of skin cells does not happen properly. Exposure to and damage from the sun are the most common causes for most forms of skin cancer. Skin cancer can result from long-term exposure or an intense burn. The ultraviolet rays (UVA, UVB, and UVC) in sunlight penetrate the skin, causing it to age prematurely and the development of abnormal cells. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and are the main cause of melanoma.
People with fair skin and light hair and eyes have less melanin, which helps the skin protect itself from UV rays, and are subsequently at a higher risk. People who have a family history of skin cancer or who have had it before are more likely to have abnormal growths again.