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Skin Cancer

skincancerOne of the major causes of skin cancer is excessive exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Skin abnormalities that can develop over time include actinic keratosis (AK) and benign growths, such as skin tags, moles, and cysts. In some instances, these skin concerns can become cancerous.

AKs appear as scaly, rough sections on the skin that can grow in size. Though originally benign, these lesions can progress to squamous cell carcinoma, which is the second most common skin cancer. Since there is no way to tell if an AK will become cancerous, Dr. Shehla Ebrahim stresses the importance of getting the lesions removed.

imagesIn addition to AKs, skin cancer can manifest in the form of moles, skin tags, and cysts. Though these growths are often harmless, you should be familiar with any skin texture abnormalities like these, so you can recognize if their appearance changes – which can be a sign that something is wrong. Should you notice the size, shape, or colour of these growths altering, please contact your family physician and request a referral to Dr. Ebrahim so she can determine whether it is benign or potentially malignant.

What Afterglow Can Do for Your Skin Cancer

At Afterglow Physician Directed Medical Aesthetics, we offer skin cancer treatments that could save your life. By removing abnormal skin growths, you can potentially prevent cancer from developing or worsening. Please follow the links below for more information on our advanced skin cancer treatments:

Picato® Gel
Picato® Gel is composed of an advanced formula that can clear precancerous lesions through topical application for the duration of two to three days.

Photodynamic Therapy with Levulan® Kerastick® and Blu-U®
Our photodynamic therapy (PDT) entails a topical cream and laser energy to treat outbreaks of AK or other abnormalities to lower the risk of them becoming cancerous.

Fotofinder® Mole Mapping
The Fotofinder® Mole Mapping computerized software system allows Dr. Ebrhaim to create a photographic record of all moles on your skin and then compare the images during future visits to find any new or changed moles.

Learn More About Skin Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Skin cancer affects millions of people every year. To help you combat this serious skin condition, we have provided answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about skin cancer. If you would like to learn more, schedule a consultation, or discuss your concerns with Dr. Ebrahim, please contact our practice. We offer complimentary initial appointments so you can get the help you need most.

What are the most common types of skin cancer?

The most common skin cancer is called basal cell carcinoma, the second most common is squamous cell carcinoma, and the third most common (though the most severe) is melanoma. Each one can present a little bit differently, and treatment will vary for each one. While basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are rarely fatal, it’s important to receive treatment so that they do not worsen and become more serious concerns.

What are some risk factors for skin cancer?

People who are most at risk of developing skin cancer are those who have lots (dozens or hundreds) of freckles, those who sunburn easily or who had severe sunburns as children, have a history of skin cancer, have light skin, or have light eyes. Young people who frequent tanning salons also present more often with skin cancer, and you should avoid tanning beds to help prevent the likelihood of damaging your skin and causing skin cancer down the line.

What are some signs of skin cancer?

Each type of skin cancer looks a little bit different, but if you notice some changes in your skin, you should see your primary care physician, Dr Ebrahim, or a dermatologist to have the issue evaluated. Skin cancer can appear like a flat, red and scaly patch, a small, smooth bump, a new or changing mole, or a mole that bleeds, itches, or hurts. Even if you have a skin issue that does not look like any of these and you’re concerned, it is always best to have a physician check it out to be certain.

Can I get skin cancer anywhere on my body?

Yes. However, many types of skin cancer, like basal cell carcinoma, typically develop in areas the sun often touches, such as the face, scalp, ears, arms, hands, and feet. In rare cases, basal cell carcinomas can spread to other areas. Squamous cell carcinoma also often shows up in areas of high sun exposure, and can also spread if left untreated. Melanomas, on the other hand, can show up anywhere and can spread quickly throughout the body.

How can I help prevent skin cancer from developing?

Fortunately, there are many ways to help reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. Simple protections like staying out of direct sunlight, wearing broad spectrum sunscreen when in sunshine and wearing sunscreen daily on your face, wearing sunglasses and protective clothing, and avoiding tanning beds can help you limit your risk. We also recommend visiting a skin care professional yearly to evaluate changes in the skin.

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