Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with one in five Americans developing some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. Fair-skinned, blonde or red-haired people with blue or green eyes at the highest risk. In fact, if you are fair skinned and live to age 65, you have a 40 to 50 percent chance of having at least one skin cancer in your lifetime.
Most skin cancers are either basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma, which are most often cured by surgical removal. These cancers commonly occur in sun-exposed areas, particularly the head and neck region. Though the cancer often presents as a sore that flakes, bleeds or doesn’t heal, it can also appear as a pearly, raised area, a flat scaly spot or even a white, waxy scar.
On the other hand, melanoma, which forms from the pigment-producing cells in our skin that are part of the body’s neuroendocrine system, can be deadly if not diagnosed and treated early. As a general rule, if you have a mole that has changed in appearance or is irregularly shaped, contains many colors or is larger than the size of a pencil eraser, you should have a dermatologist evaluate it.
The good news is that cutting edge skin cancer management can now provide patients with substantially higher cure rates using Mohs surgery techniques, which are performed exclusively by specially trained dermatologic surgeons. Using microscopic control of the surgical margins, the Mohs surgeon can provide the patient with up to a 99% cure rate for the most common forms of skin cancer. Following removal of the cancer; the Mohs surgeon may partner with a facial plastic surgeon to reconstruct the most challenging and complex facial defects. The facial plastic surgeon can minimize deformities by employing the most advanced reconstructive methods in conjunction with their artistic sensibilities. This is particularly important in the face, since our faces define who we are. Well-done facial cancer reconstruction is critical to maintain a person’s sense of wholeness and to preserve function of vital structures such as the eyelid, nose and lip areas.
It’s important to note that skin cancer rates have increased more than 75 percent between 1992 and 2006. To reduce your risk, stay out of the sun, avoid tanning beds and wear a broad spectrum sun protectant with SPF 30 or greater every day of the year. But if you do find a skin lesion that concerns you or have recently been diagnosed with skin cancer, rest assured that the best care is just around the corner.
To best serve the community, Marietta Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Center and Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics Center have created an integrated, one stop resource for almost all skin cancer patients. By offering general dermatologic surveillance, Mohs surgery with an on-site full service dermatopathology laboratory, and facial plastic surgery reconstructive services in one free-standing modern facility, we successfully treat thousands of people annually. This is a very unique resource for the greater Atlanta area.
Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center
Marietta Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Center
111 Marble Mill Road NW
Marietta, GA 30060