Come in For a Screening at Either Location in San Antonio
Skin cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, but only if it is detected early. A skin cancer screening from Dr. Vivian Bucay can help assess your for risk skin cancer and identify any problem areas.
The Most Common Types of Cancer in San Antonio TX
Some people think of skin problems as purely cosmetic issues. If we are discussing wrinkles that may be true, but most dermatological concerns are medical as well. In some cases, they can be vital to your health and wellbeing. The most striking example is skin cancer. What appears to be nothing more than a mole or rash can pose an imminent threat to your life.
Types of Skin Cancer
The most commonly diagnosed types of skin cancer are:
- Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer in the U.S.A., and approximately two million new cases are diagnosed every year. It is a slow-growing, local tumor. If neglected, it will continue growing and destroying more tissue. Although basal cell carcinoma rarely metastasizes, (invades other regions of the body), it is possible.
- Squamous cell carcinoma is less prevalent, but still quite common. It is similar to basal cell carcinoma but more aggressive. The tumor grows at a more rapid rate, and the risk of metastasis is greater, particularly if the cancer develops on a mucous membrane. Squamous cell carcinoma can appear anywhere, but it is most common on sun-exposed skin.
- Malignant melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer. However, the number of people affected is growing due to the popularity of tanning salons and sun bathing. It may resemble a mole with uneven edges or an irregular shape. The color may be brown, red, white, black, gray, or any combination. This is the deadliest skin cancer because it is prone to metastasize early.
Prevention And Detection
Many people are scarred or worse by preventable skin cancers. The single most important thing that you can do is be sun-smart.
- Wear sunscreen
- Wear protective clothing
- Stay indoors midday, when the UV rays are the strongest
- Stay in the shade as much as possible
- Remember that UV rays can pass through clouds and windows
Unfortunately, prevention only lowers (not eliminates) your risk. If cancer develops, early detection allows for the most effective treatment, with minimal scarring. Yearly cancer screenings from your dermatologist can save your life. Additionally, it is important to be aware of your own skin, and any changes that occur. You should perform self-checks regularly, and visit a dermatologist if you notice anything unusual. Large, irregularly shaped, or multi-colored “moles” are especially cause for concern.
What Happens During a Skin Cancer Screening?
A skin cancer screening is a visual examination of the skin. The goal of the examination is to find any indication that skin cancer may be present. Signs of skin cancer can include the presence of multiple moles, uneven or blotchy moles, moles that appear to be changing color, or lesions.
Skin cancer can happen anywhere on the body, which is why a full body screening is recommended. A full body screening allows dermatologists to examine you from head to toe to find any indication of skin cancer. Dr. Bucay will inspect your scalp, arms, legs, back, and face. She will even inspect your fingernails and toenails, as skin cancer can form under the nails.
How Long Will a Skin Cancer Screening Last?
The length of time a skin cancer screen lasts will vary depending on the patient. Most screenings last approximately 10 minutes. Individuals who have multiple moles or who already have a history of skin cancer may have screenings that last between 20 to 30 minutes.
What Happens if Something Suspicious is Found During a Skin Cancer Screening?
Suspicious growths, lesions, and moles may be discovered during a skin cancer screening. These may not be cancerous, but it is best to take a closer look at them. In this situation, a biopsy will be performed.
When a biopsy is conducted, our dermatologist will remove a small layer of skin or clip off the lesion/growth. The layer or skin/growth/lesion is sent to a lab where it is examined under a microscope. This close examination of the skin/growth/lesion helps identify if cancer is present.
How Often Should a Skin Cancer Screening be Conducted?
A full body skin cancer screening should be conducted at least once a year, especially if there is a history of skin cancer. If there are any noticeable changes or concerns that arise during that year, it is always best to schedule an appointment to discuss those concerns with our dermatologist.
Once the skin cancer screening is completed, we can create a customized treatment/prevention plan for you.