One in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of a lifetime. Early detection is key. Monthly self exams coupled with yearly exams by your dermatology provider help to identify suspicious lesions early. At Advanced Dermatology Bel Air, Hunt Valley, and Towson our staff of board certified dermatologists, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners can perform a thorough full skin exam.
Check out our list of frequently asked questions typically asked of our doctors and staff. (Click to reveal or hide answer.)
Actinic Kerotoeses (AKs) are pre-cancers caused by the sun and usually appear as small or scaly bumps. They may be elevated and rough in texture, and can be red, pink, tan, and even flesh colored. While most AKs are benign, some can develop into invasive squamous cell carcinoma if left untreated.
Basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) are the most common cancer in the world. They often appear as a raised, translucent, pearly nodule that may bleed. They can also appear as open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scar-like growths. They are usually caused by both cumulative and intermittent sun exposure or tanning bed exposure.
Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are the second most common form of skin cancer. They are usually raised, and may look like scaly red patches, opaque pink nodules, open sores, or warts. Long term, cumulative sun exposure is the most common cause. A small percentage of SCCs spread to other parts of the body and may be deadly.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and can be life threatening if allowed to advance. Melanomas are usually dark in color. They may appear asymmetric or have irregular borders. They may arise as a new dark spot or may be a changing dark spot on the skin.
While skin cancers can almost always be cured if found and treated early, you can do things to help avoid getting them in the first place.
A full skin exam is simple and may take no longer than 15- 30 minutes of your time. No special equipment is involved - the dermatology provider examines your skin carefully and thoroughly to look for suspicious moles or lesions. At that time the provider can also treat many other skin problems. If a lesion does look concerning for skin cancer, the provider will do a simple procedure called a biopsy. If skin cancer is diagnosed, most can be treated in office with topical or surgical treatment.