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Methodist Healthcare

Skin cancer

Dermatologists and oncologists collaborate to treat skin cancer, an abnormal growth of skin cells. Skin cancer typically occurs in skin exposed to the sun, but it can develop anywhere. There are different types of skin cancer, such as carcinoma or melanoma.

Cancer doctors in San Antonio

If you've been diagnosed with skin cancer, our medical oncologists and skin specialists combine advanced treatments with compassionate care.

At Methodist Healthcare, we know that facing a cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming. Our compassionate specialists work towards developing a treatment plan that's best suited to your condition. We may combine chemotherapy, radiation therapy, cryotherapy, and, if needed, surgery.

For more information about our skin cancer services, please call askSARAH at (210) 507-0941.

What causes skin cancer

Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. Artificial radiation from sunlamps and tanning booths can also cause skin cancer. Exposure to the sun is the primary cause of melanoma, although some patients have a genetic predisposition to developing these cancers.

Types of skin cancer

At Methodist Healthcare, we provide cancer care for three major types of skin cancer:

  • Basal cell carcinoma: This is the most common type of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma develops in the outermost layer of skin. This cancer usually grows slowly and does not spread to other tissues in the body.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma: This cancer develops in the uppermost layer of skin cells. Squamous cell carcinoma usually grows slowly. However, in some cases, it can grow fast and spread to other tissues in the body. If treated early, this type of cancer is rarely fatal. However, cancer can be fatal if it spreads beyond the skin.
  • Melanoma: This is cancer of the melanocytes, the cells that produce skin color and give moles their dark color. The disease typically starts in the skin, but it also may arise in other areas where melanocytes are found, such as in the eyes, digestive system, nail beds or lymph nodes. Melanomas account for less than 5 percent of all skin cancer cases; however, they are more dangerous because they are far more likely to spread to other parts of the body.

Skin cancer symptoms

Skin cancer affects people of all skin tones, including individuals with darker complexions. When melanoma occurs in people with dark skin tones, it's more likely to occur in areas not normally exposed to the sun, such as the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

It's important to schedule an appointment with a specialist in dermatology care if you experience:

  • A pearly or waxy bump
  • A flat, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion
  • Bleeding or scabbing sores that heal and return
  • A firm, red nodule
  • A flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface
  • A large, brownish spot with darker speckles
  • Moles that bleed or change in color, size or feel
  • A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, pink, white, blue or blue-black
  • Painful lesions that itch or burn
  • Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips or toes or on mucous membranes lining your mouth, nose, vagina or anus

Skin cancer treatment

If the cancer is isolated to a certain area of the body, surgery may be recommended to remove the area of skin that is affected. Various forms of therapy, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy or cryotherapy (freezing) are also available options.

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