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Skin Cancer

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Receiving a diagnosis of skin cancer might feel overwhelming. The good news is, when caught early, most skin cancers are treatable.

What Is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the skin cells. Skin cancer is very common. According to the American Cancer Society, it's by far the most common type of cancer. About 5.4 million people in the United States receive a skin cancer diagnosis every year.

No form of skin cancer is good news, but some are more serious than others. Types of skin cancer include:

  • Basal cell skin cancer, which is the most common type of skin cancer. Basal cell cancers develop in the outermost layer of the skin. Most are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays that come from the sun or indoor tanning.
  • Squamous cell skin cancer, which is the second most common skin cancer. Squamous cell cancers grow near the surface of the skin. They usually appear in sun-exposed areas like the face, ears, neck and back of the hands.
  • Melanoma, which occurs in the cells of the skin that produce pigment. These cells are called melanocytes. Melanocytes are present in and around our eyes so it is important to protect your eyes from sun exposure, too!

Several types of rare skin cancers exist, including Merkel cell skin cancer and acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM). ALM is more common in people of color.

Why Choose Luminis Health for Skin Cancer Care?

The mortality rates for melanoma are higher in our region than state and national rates. That's a concern for our skin cancer experts, who want to see those numbers go down. Our skin cancer experts are trained to provide comprehensive care and:

  • Promote risk reduction. We provide education on steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer and detect skin cancers early.
  • Be at the forefront of research. Clinical trials are available for eligible participants for cutting edge treatment options.
  • Connect you with cancer support services to help your well-being. Cancer is a major life event. If you or a loved one has cancer, we're here to help you every step of the way. We offer many different services and resources designed to fit your needs and give you a better, more comfortable experience.

Preventing Skin Cancer

The best way to reduce your risk of skin cancer is education and protecting your skin and eyes from overexposure to the UV rays. Some steps you can take to reduce your risk include:

  • Seeking shade, especially between 10am and 4pm.
  • Avoiding sunburns.
  • Avoiding tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Covering up with clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
  • Applying at least one ounce of sunscreen to your body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours and after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Using extra caution around water, snow and sand (they can reflect damaging rays).
  • Getting Vitamin D safely through a healthy diet.
  • Keeping newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should only be used on babies over the age of 6 months.
  • Examining your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • Seeing your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

Skin Cancer Diagnosis and Treatments

Early detection is the key to treating skin cancer successfully. Be aware of changes by doing monthly skin self-exams. Report any new, changing or unusual skin areas to your doctor.

Skin cancer can take many forms. Look for some of these warning signs:

  • Flat, firm, pale or yellow areas that resemble scars.
  • Sores that don't heal in three weeks.
  • Pink growths with raised edges.
  • Reddish patches that itch, crust, or bleed.
  • Raised growths or bumps.
  • Pink or red pearly bumps.
  • Wart-like growths.
  • Moles that change shape, size or color.

Diagnosing skin cancer

To diagnose skin cancer, your doctor may order:

  • A biopsy, which is a small sample of tissue to analyze in the lab.
  • Imaging tests, which could include x-rays, CTs, MRIs, or PET scans.
  • A physical exam.

Skin cancer treatment

We'll come up with a personalized treatment plan for you. We may use radiation, chemotherapy, surgery or a combination to treat your skin cancer.

One of our specialized treatments is sentinel lymph node biopsy. With this procedure, we remove the lymph node where cancer is likely to spread from a tumor and check for cancer cells.

Location Section

Our Locations

Luminis Health Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Annapolis
2003 Medical Pkwy, Wayson Pavilion, Ste 210, Annapolis, MD 21401
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Wayson Pavilion
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