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Algonquin, IL area dermatologist explains common symptoms of skin cancer in patients
Posted by Dr. Vikram Khanna
Dr. Vikram Khanna of Dermatology Specialists of Illinois is a dermatologist who is here to help with general, cosmetic, and medical dermatology needs for patients in and around the area of Algonquin, IL. Patients are encouraged to visit a dermatologist once a year for an annual skin cancer screening. Skin cancer has several distinct and common symptoms and signs that can be spotted by a dermatologist, and should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Our dermatologist explains the ways in which skin cancer can be identified.
What is skin cancer?
First of all, it is essential that patients fully understand what skin cancer is. Skin cancer is one of the easiest cancers to diagnose early on because it develops on the skin where it can be seen by an experienced healthcare professional. In some cases, skin cancer cells may develop in areas where a wound has not completely healed, or even on a mole that has been present for many years.
There are different types of skin cancer, so knowing what to look for with each type is key. The most aggressive and deadly type of skin cancer is melanoma. Melanoma is often associated with lesions or moles on the skin, and may cause moles to change in shape, color, and size. In fact, a changing mole is the most common symptom or sign of skin cancer. If patients notice any of these changes with a mole that has been present on the skin for years, it may be indicative of melanoma. This is the point at which patients need to make an appointment with their dermatologist for an assessment of the mole, and if it is found to be cancerous, full removal of the mole and a small area of the surrounding skin. The other two most frequently diagnosed forms of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.
If you are being screened for cancer, our dermatologist may look for the following concerns:
New or growing skin tags and growths
Changes to existing moles on the skin
Wounds that will not heal or change in size
During a skin cancer screening, the doctor will evaluate the patient from head to toe and look for any of these concerns. If there are moles present on the skin, they will be monitored at each annual screening to check for changes and determine if the size, color, or shape differs from the previous year.
If there is any area of concern, Dr. Vikram Khanna may request a biopsy. This is a relatively quick procedure where the doctor will remove a small portion of a mole or skin growth and then send it to a laboratory for an evaluation. Depending on the type of cancer that Dr. Khanna suspects, he may remove the full mole at the time of the biopsy for accurate diagnosis and staging. The laboratory will then look for skin cancer cells in the tissue and depending on the type of biopsy that was performed, they will also evaluate how deep the cells have grown into your skin. After the biopsy is complete, the patient will be contacted by the dermatologist to discuss their diagnosis and treatment plan, as well as any questions the patient has.
What treatments are available for skin cancer?
There are several different ways in which areas of cancer may be treated, including:
Mohs micrographic surgery
It is essential that patients who receive a diagnosis of skin cancer speak with their doctor about the recommended treatment options. The appropriate treatment depends on the type of skin cancer, how much it has spread (if at all), and other factors.
Prevention of skin cancer
One of the most important aspects of skin cancer that patients need to consider is prevention. The number one reason that skin cancer develops is too much sun exposure. Patients can protect their skin from skin cancer by wearing high SPF sunblock each and every day on exposed skin. Patients should avoid tanning or burning their skin, as this can increase their risk of developing skin cancer over the years. With proper precautions, patients can maintain healthy, youthful skin and reduce their chances of skin cancer down the road. Our team of professionals can educate patients on how to prevent skin cancer and recommend the best products for protecting your skin.
Take the time to speak to a dermatologist in Algonquin, IL about skin cancer screening and diagnosis
Dr. Vikram Khanna and his team located at Dermatology Specialists of Illinois are available to assist patients in and around the communities of Woodstock and Algonquin, IL with their specific dermatological needs. If you are interested in learning more about the signs and symptoms of skin cancer or need an annual skin cancer screening, you are welcome to contact our Algonquin, IL area office at (844) 307-7546 and visit us at 2430 Esplanade Drive, Suite B.