The two most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma most often affects people with fair skin. It is sometimes characterized by a skin-colored or pink bump that appears on the head, neck, and arms. If left untreated, this can grow into surrounding skin and tissues. Squamous cell carcinoma often looks like a sore. It tends to feel like a firm bump or scaly patch. These commonly appear on the ears, face, neck, arms, chest, and back. This can start to spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. If you find any growths on your skin, come into Essential Dermatology to get checked out by our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Krathen.
What Causes Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
Exposure to ultraviolet rays (UV) from the sun or from tanning beds causes skin cancer. This happens because exposure to these rays causes damage to DNA in the skin cells. This is a foundation for them to mutate and grow rapidly which forms tumors and growths. Some chemicals can cause skin cancer from frequent exposure. Skin cancer tends to affect certain demographics more, such as people with fair skin, but it also is congenital. If a family member has had skin cancer, then you are more likely to get it in your lifetime.
Symptoms of Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- New growth on the skin
- Pigmented areas that change, grow, or look abnormal
- A growth that bleeds or scabs
Treatments for Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma
During a screening with Dr. Krathen, he will want to examine your skin and search for any abnormalities. If an abnormality is found, he may want to do a biopsy to see if it is cancerous. Once he diagnosis the growth and understands how far it has spread, treatment can begin. There are various types of methods to treat these cancers. Most often, surgical excision is used to remove the affected area. He can perform Mohs Surgery when the cancer is on a highly visible area like the face or the cancer is especially aggressive. Other methods are cryotherapy, radiation therapy, electrodesiccation, and topical medications. Dr. Krathen will find the right solution for you based on your symptoms and concerns. He may also suggest some lifestyle changes to prevent cancer from forming again.
Schedule a Consultation
To prevent skin cancer, you should protect your skin from the suns rays and make sure to get regular screenings from a dermatologist. To get started, call our office at (508) 827-2615 or request a consultation by filling out our online form. To book an appointment, schedule your visit as a new patient using our online scheduler or as an existing patient using the Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway.
Meet Dr. Michael Krathen
Dr. Michael Krathen is a board-certified dermatologist with more than a decade of medical training and experience. A specialist in both medical and cosmetic dermatology, he uses expertise, collaboration, and compassion to help people of all ages discover their healthiest and most radiant skin.