Skin Cancer and Melanoma Treatment in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Skin cancer happens when the cells in the skin start to grow abnormally, most often developing after the skin is exposed to the sun. Still, these malignancies can occur in other areas that usually aren’t or are rarely exposed to sunlight.

There are three major skin cancer types:

  • Squamos cell carcinoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma

Skin Cancer Diagnosis

To establish a proper diagnosis, your health practitioner may:

  • Examine the skin: Most skin cancers will have visible changes, but usually, further testing will be needed to confirm the findings.
  • Biopsy: The skin cancer specialist may also remove tissue from the suspicious area to determine whether it’s cancer or not.

Diagnosis may include several steps. In the case of basal cell carcinoma, removing the growth is the only type of treatment patients will require. However, if the malignancy is Merkel cell carcinoma, melanoma, or squamous cell carcinoma, the skin cancer specialist may perform further tests to see the extent of the disease and create a treatment plan accordingly.

Skin Cancer Treatment

Treatment options will vary depending on their depth, type, size, and location. Small, localized, and contained skin cancers may only need the initial biopsy that removes the growth in its entirety.

Additional treatment methods may include:

  • Excisional surgery: This treatment type may work for any skin cancer type, as the doctor cuts out the malignant tissue and a piece of the surrounding healthy tissue.
  • Freezing: The oncologist may be able to freeze smaller cancers with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery).
  • Mohs surgery: For larger and recurring cancer, the doctor removes the tumor in layers until every cell is eliminated.
  • Curettage, cryotherapy, and electrodesiccation: This is a combination of procedures that can effectively remove larger, more aggressive cancers with blades, electric needles, and liquid nitrogen.

Besides these surgical procedures, skin cancer specialists may also recommend radiation therapy, chemotherapy, biological therapy, and photodynamic therapy if the cancers are more challenging to treat.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare malignant disease that forms in the skin’s top layer and most often starts to develop in the skin areas that are exposed to sunlight, mainly around the arms, legs, trunk, head, and neck.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma Treatment

When it comes to treating this rare cancer type, oncologists usually recommend four different methods.

Surgery

Surgery is usually among the first treatment approaches experts take when tackling Merkel cell carcinoma.

Surgical procedures may include:

  • Wide local excision, in which the tumor will be cut from this skin along with some healthy tissue around it.
  • Lymph node dissection, mainly to see whether the cancer has spread from the skin to the nearest lymph nodes.

After removing the tumor and all signs of cancer with surgery, some patients might be given radiation therapy or chemotherapy to remove all the cancer cells that may have been left in the body. These treatment options are given to patients to lower the risks of the cancer coming back.

Skin Cancer Treatment in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Patients may have many questions and concerns after receiving a diagnosis. Still, they should know that with the help of compassionate and experienced experts, they can navigate through this challenging period.

Melanoma

Malignant melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer that begins in the calls referred to as melanocytes. What makes this malignancy especially dangerous is the fact that it can spread rapidly to other organs, so discovering it early is pivotal for effective melanoma treatment.

Melanoma Symptoms

The main symptoms or warning signs of melanoma can be recognized by assessing a lesion on the skin with the first five letters of the alphabet.

A – Asymmetry: Most melanoma lesions are asymmetrical, with their halves being mismatched, not resembling a common, oval, symmetrical mole.

B – Border: The borders of melanoma growths tend to be scalloped, notched, and uneven.

C – Color: Beijing moles are usually a single shade, while melanomas may be of multiple colors, changing as they grow.

D – Dark or Diameter: Suspicious moles that are darker than others (or colorless) are often clear warning signs. Also, if the lesion is the size of the pencil eraser, it may signal melanoma.

E – Evolving: The growth changes its elevation, color, size, and shape, itches, crusts, bleeds, and so on.

Melanoma Treatment

Most early-stage melanomas are treated with excisional surgery, and if the malignancy hasn’t spread yet, usually, this is the only treatment that’s needed. In the case of stage 0 and I melanomas, surgeons remove the cancer and some healthy surrounding tissue.

In other cases, experts may recommend Mohs surgery to remove the growth in layers and spare healthy tissue.

For more complex cancers (high-risk melanomas), experts will examine the lymphatic system near the growth. After surgery, additional treatment methods may be recommended, like radiation, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and chemotherapy, may be used.

Melanoma Treatment in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer and needs immediate medical attention to ensure successful outcomes. People who suspect that they may have skin cancer should have their symptoms evaluated by an experienced and compassionate expert who is also competent in creating a detailed and individualized treatment plan.

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