Skin Cancer Treatment Bend, OR

What is skin cancer?

Cancer that forms in the tissues of the skin is called skin cancer or neoplasia. This is the most common form of human cancer.  According to experts, this is mainly caused by ultraviolet light or sunlight.  This condition is most common on older people and those who have a weak immune system.  Skin cancer manifests itself as a change in the appearance of your skin, an abnormal growth like a spot or a mole, or a rash or sore that will not heal. There are three types of skin cancer:

  • Melanoma – skin cancer that forms in the melanocytes where skin pigments are produced.  This is the most serious type among the three because it spreads or metastasizes throughout the body.
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma – skin cancer that forms in the outer layer or the skin, the epidermis.  This is a non-melanoma skin cancer and is generally curable when caught early.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma – non-melanoma skin cancer that forms in the squamous cells, which are the flat cells on the surface of the skin. 

How is skin cancer treated?

It is very important to have a regular skin cancer screening done especially if you have a history or a predisposition to getting it.  If you notice any irregularities in your skin, spots or moles, it is best to consult your doctor.  In treating skin cancer, the main goal of the doctor is to remove or destroy the cancer completely with the least scarring possible.  The treatment will depend on the location, the size, the medical history and the general health of the patient.  Some of the methods that doctors use in treating skin cancer are listed below:

  • Curettage and desiccation – usually preferred by dermatologists.  This involves scooping out the cancer cell with a curette.
  • Surgical excision – the cancer cell is cut out and the affected area is closed up with stitches.
  • Cryosurgery – freezing the cancer cell with liquid nitrogen to kill abnormal cells
  • Radiation therapy – usually used for skin cancer in areas that are difficult to treat with surgery
  • Mohs micrographic surgery – removes very little of the healthy tissues and cancer cells are taken out little by little while the area is being examined under a microscope.
  • Creams – there are some creams that may be used for medical therapy for those who want to avoid surgery.  These creams have an active ingredient that stimulates the immune system.

How can you avoid skin cancer?

Specialists recommend that you examine your own skin at least 3 times a month to check on any changes with your moles and spots especially if you have a history or a predisposition.  Doctors strongly advise to avoid prolonged unprotected sun exposure if you are at risk of getting skin cancer.  Always make sure that you use a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher to ensure proper protection.