Focus on Health With Minimal Effect on Appearance in Ohio
When skin cancer is found, it is important to have it completely removed to keep it from spreading or coming back. As a team experienced in treating skin cancer at Ohio’s Fine Arts Skin & Laser, we also understand the importance of providing a reconstruction that most favorably preserves appearance and function.
What is Skin Cancer?
Millions of Americans are affected by skin cancer each year. The disease results from an abnormal, rapid, and uncontrollable development of mutated cells in the skin. The trigger is commonly DNA damage linked to intense and/or cumulative exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight or artificial sources, such as indoor tanning.
In most cases, the problem originates in the epidermis—the outermost layer of skin. When treated in its early stages, there is a high chance that skin cancer can be cured.
All skin colors can be affected by skin cancer. Spending a lot of time in the sun during childhood can increase your chances of developing skin cancer, as can experiencing intense sunburns in your youth. Other risk factors for skin cancer include advanced age, a family history of cancer, a weakened immune system, having fair skin that burns easily and doesn’t tan, having naturally blond or red hair and light-colored eyes, long-term sun exposure, and previously having skin cancer. People with a significant number of moles (more than 50), large moles, or atypical lesions are also more likely to develop the disease.
Types of Skin Cancer
There are various forms of skin cancer. The main three are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, though there are also other rare types not often seen.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
This is the most common form of skin cancer. It starts in the lower area of the epidermis, known as the basal cell layer, and is associated with intense or cumulative, long-term UV radiation exposure. It tends to appear on the face, head, neck, and other areas that have the most sun exposure.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous cell skin cancer happens in the outer, protective surface area of the epidermis. People who have this cancer have often experienced other forms of sun damage, such as severe wrinkles, age spots, and discolorations. While it can occur anywhere, this also typically affects sun-exposed areas the most.
Cancer that affects the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) that determine the color of the skin is known as melanoma. This is the deadliest skin cancer of the main three and can be life-threatening in its later stages when not properly treated. In fact, most deaths from skin cancer are caused by melanoma. Growths of this skin cancer usually look similar to common moles but have some key differences. Knowing these differences can be crucial in catching the problem early for the best chances at a cure.
Detection and Prevention of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer can be detected very early on—even at its precancerous stage before it has spread below the skin’s surface. This it’s why it’s important to be aware of the common warning signs. Skin experts recommend regularly applying adequate amounts of a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or more when you go out, even on cloudy, overcast, or snowy days. UV rays can pass through clouds, and some types can even go through windows. Wearing protective clothing, seeking shade, and staying out of the sun during peak hours can also help. It’s especially critical to protect children from sunburn.
Routine self-exams are also encouraged. Use a mirror in a well-lit room to ensure that you check your entire body, including parts that aren’t usually exposed to sunlight. Generally, you should be suspicious about any changes to the appearance of a lesion on the skin or any moles that look dissimilar to others. You should also have annual full-body skin cancer screenings performed by a qualified physician.
The “ABCDE rule” is helpful for identifying possible cases of melanoma:
Asymmetry: The mole is an irregular shape and its two sides don’t match.
Border: Instead of defined, even borders, the edges of the lesion are indistinct or scalloped.
Color: Instead of being a solid, uniform color, the mole is multicolored. Unusual shades of pink, blue, white, or red are visible, or variegated black, brown, or tan.
Diameter: It is larger than a pencil eraser.
Evolving: The spot continues to grow, change in color, or develop new symptoms, like crusting and bleeding.
Why Choose Dr. Hartman for Skin Cancer Removal and Reconstruction?
At Fine Arts Skin & Laser, Dr. David Hartman takes a comprehensive approach to skin cancer removal. He is double-board certified in both facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. We do skin cancer removal and reconstructions from head to toe. Using advanced binocular microscopy throughout the procedure, Dr. Hartman can precisely and completely remove the entire cancer. This innovative technique is just one example of the sophisticated techniques we use.
Nearly all skin cancer patients can be treated in our state-of-the-art in-office surgical suites for optimal comfort and convenience in a luxurious spa-like environment. Unlike many other offices, we do our reconstructions in the very same visit as the excisional biopsy, saving you both time and money. This combined effort also reduces the psychological impact associated with having multiple procedures. Our team takes great care when reconstructing the excisional defect to provide the most optimal cosmetic and functional result. We use microscopy for all our reconstructions.
All cancer specimens are marked so the reviewing pathologist will know precisely where cancer came from, and which side is left or right, up or down. This is vital for the pathologist and us to determine the completeness of the skin cancer removal. We routinely use surgical-scar-improving laser treatments at no additional charge on follow-up visits when laser treatments would prove helpful. Fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing is a non-surgical treatment that applies light energy to perforate the skin precisely with tiny, microscopic channels while leaving the surrounding skin intact. This prompts the healing response of the skin, stimulating collagen regrowth, and creating a smoother, clearer look. It is very useful for thicker, deeper scars.
Surgery with honesty is one of our core goals at Fine Arts Skin & Laser, and we blend safe, effective procedures with beautiful, functionally optimized results for all our patients.
Am I a Good Candidate for Skin Cancer Removal and Reconstruction?
As no two cases of skin cancer are alike, the best way to determine if you, indeed, have skin cancer—and, if so, the best course of action—is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hartman and our medical team. We will listen to all your concerns and create a personalized treatment plan with you to achieve the best results possible with minimal disruption to your normal activities.
We will also let you know how to prepare for your procedure, what you can expect during the treatment process and afterward, and all relevant safety information that applies to your experience.