Factors we consider when recommending the most appropriate treatments for skin cancer
The Orchard Park Dermatology team works closely with you on ways to protect your skin from the harmful effects of Ultraviolet light. From sun avoidance measures to the appropriate use of UVA-UVB sunscreen products, measures to prevent cancers are always preferred to treatments for skin cancer at our Orchard Park, NY office. We encourage anyone searching for a dermatologist ‘near me’, who has noticed changes to moles or other spots, to contact Board-certified Dermatologist Dr. Peter Accetta right away to schedule a skin check. For instance, you may be concerned about a mole’s sudden itchiness. It may feel tender to the touch, or look larger and darker than usual.
Ideally, we will get you on a schedule of routine professional skin screenings to detect abnormalities early, when pre-cancers and cancerous lesions are easiest to successfully treat. We’ll also provide guidance on how to perform self-checks at home, and what to look for when evaluating your skin for potential cancers. If cancerous cells are detected in biopsied tissue, today’s patients have many options for treatment. Generally, standard excision to remove the cancer may be recommended. A small margin of surrounding, healthy tissue is also removed. We at Orchard Park Dermatology may also find you are an appropriate candidate for a very precise form of excision: Mohs micrographic surgery. The Mohs surgeon that we refer you to would generally remove the visible tumor and, from there, evaluate the tissue underneath a microscope. If cancer cells are detected, more tissue would be removed. The process continues until no cancer cells are detected. This approach is ideal to preserve maximum tissue in highly visible or “functionally important” areas, such as the face, fingers, and toes.
Before these and other treatment approaches are identified, we’ll discuss many considerations with you. The preferred treatment for you, and how that treatment is approached, depends on factors such as:
- the stage of cancer – stage accounts for the tumor’s size, as well as its spread, to either the lymph nodes and/or other parts of the body.
- overall health – for instance, comorbidities like diabetes affect the body’s ability to fight off harmful invaders.
- lifestyle – habits such as tobacco use can interfere with the body’s ability to heal itself (and are strongly linked to many different types of cancers).
- Cancer type – the most common types of skin cancer, Basal Cell Carcinomas, originate in the lowest part of the epidermis and are generally slow-growing. Accounting for around 20% of skin cancers, Squamous Cell Carcinomas develop in the outermost epidermis and are largely more invasive than BCCs. Around 1% of skin cancers are melanomas, which develop in the cells (melanocytes) that give skin its color. They tend to spread deeper into the skin, and to other parts of the body.
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Each patient’s medical history and situation is different. Depending on what we find diagnostically, and in consultation with you, Dr. Accetta may recommend other techniques in addition to or in lieu of excision. For instance, targeted therapies use medications or other substances to destroy cancer cells. Prescription topicals may also be effective at boosting the immune system, eliminating slower-growing cancers. Generally, our skin specialist recommends the most conservative treatment that will also effectively eradicate the cancer.
We at Orchard Park Dermatology have cultivated many long-term relationships with patients, not only due to our advanced skills and technologies but also due to our empathetic and friendly approach to care. We appreciate the fear and concern that our patients and their families are experiencing, and are privileged to offer proactive and prompt treatment in a caring, yet professional manner. Call (716) 675-7000 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Accetta at the Orchard Park, NY office.
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