What is Skin Cancer, and What is the Best Treatment?

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. It starts when cells in your skin (melanocytes) are out of control and grow too fast. They can become cancerous if they continue to grow. Skin cancer can appear as a mole with irregular edges, a change in color or shape, or a change in size.

The most common skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma, all of which are different types of skin tumors that grow from normal tissue in the skin. These three forms of skin cancer account for nearly 90 percent of cases diagnosed in the United States. But the good news is that your reliable Mohs skin cancer surgeon Stockton can help address different skin cancers.

Below are the different types of skin cancers.

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most prevalent form of skin cancer. It occurs in sun-exposed body areas, such as the face, ears, neck, back of hands, and arms. BCC is a less aggressive type of skin cancer than melanoma.

Basal cell carcinomas can be diagnosed by a doctor using a biopsy or through an image scan. The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 1 million new cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year alone.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a skin cancer that begins in the cells of the top layer of the epidermis. It is most common in sun-exposed areas such as the forehead, nose, lips, ears, and back of the neck. It can also occur on other parts of your face or body exposed to sunlight.

SCCs, like all types of skin cancer, are most often caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning beds. They can also be caused by chronic irritation from skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.


Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that starts in the melanocytes. Melanocytes are located in the skin but can also occur in other body parts, such as the eye, or organs like the brain. Melanoma occurs most often on sun-exposed body areas like arms and legs.

How is skin cancer treated?

Mohs micrographic surgery

Mohs micrographic surgery is a minimally invasive biopsy-based procedure that uses a tiny needle to remove skin cancer cells and any underlying tissue that may be affected by cancer. After the procedure, a full-thickness biopsy is taken to determine whether or not more aggressive surgery is needed.

Mohs micrographic surgery can be performed on all skin cancers involving the epidermis, dermis, or both. The procedure can also be used to remove benign tumors or precancerous lesions.

Electronic brachytherapy (eBx)

Electronic brachytherapy is a non-invasive procedure that uses radio waves and radioactive seeds to treat skin cancer. The treatment emits energy to destroy abnormal cells while keeping healthy cells intact. This results in an improved cosmetic outcome, with minimal scarring or visible evidence of the original tumor.

Surgical excision

Surgical excision removes all or part of the skin cancer with a scalpel. The most common procedure is Mohs surgery, in which tiny surgical incisions are made and the cancerous tissue removed. This method has a very high success rate but is also more invasive, so you may have to have repeat surgeries if there are any problems.

If you have skin cancer, you should see your doctor. The health specialist may remove the cancerous cells with a biopsy. Surgery may be needed if the skin cancer has spread or has gone through several stages of growth. If you have an aggressive form of skin cancer and it is not already gone into your lymph nodes, you will probably need surgery to remove it as well. The treatment for skin cancers depends on the type and size of the tumor and how far it is spread. For more information about skin cancer treatment, contact LUX Dermatology experts.

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