If you have been diagnosed with pre-cancer, basal cell carcinoma, or squamous cell carcinoma, you may have options for treating your skin cancer without surgery. Explore the options below and ask our Salt Lake City dermatologist for advice about which one may be best for you.
This therapy treats pre-cancerous conditions, including actinic keratoses (AKs). It involves freezing and killing tumorous cells with liquid nitrogen. Cryotherapy usually takes several office visits to complete.
Once the skin surrounding the treatment area thaws, expect a bit of swelling, blistering, and crusting. The wound may take 30 days or more to fully heal, possibly draining fluid during this time. Be aware that cryotherapy leaves a scar where the pre-cancer cells once were, and the area may have less pigment following treatment.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
A PDT treatment called BLU-U can treat everything from acne to skin cancer. First, a topical formulation called Levulan is applied to target AKs, pre-cancerous lesions, and early-stage carcinomas. Then, exposure to a special blue light causes a biochemical reaction between the topical product and the skin, increasing the turnover of healthy skin cells to restore the damaged area to a healthy, cancer-free state.
Be aware that temporary redness and swelling may occur. Patients must also avoid direct sunlight for several days following treatment.
The purpose of chemotherapy is to kill cancer cells using drugs. Topical chemotherapy involves applying the anti-cancer medication directly to the skin once or twice a day for up to several weeks. This differs from traditional chemotherapy, which is taken orally or intravenously.
Topical chemotherapy prevents the drugs from spreading throughout the body, reducing the associated side effects. However, topical treatment only works if the tumor cells are located on or near the surface of the skin. Therefore, it can only be used to fight skin growths, including AKs and some basal and squamous cell carcinomas.
Immune Response Modifiers
The purpose of these drugs is to boost the body’s immune system, helping it fight off cancer more effectively. Immune response modifiers come in a cream form, which can be applied to AKs and early basal cell cancers. An injectable form is also available to boost the immune response against tumors that aren’t located directly on the skin. Rashes and flu-like symptoms are the most common side effects.
This treatment is labeled a “surgery” because it targets and destroys body tissue, but laser treatment doesn’t involve cutting into your skin with scalpels. Instead, it works by vaporizing AKs and some types of basal and squamous cell carcinomas with laser beams.
This therapy ranges from mild salon-type treatment for cosmetic purposes to deeply penetrating procedures that can treat AKs. Chemical peels involve applying a product to the skin, such as trichloroacetic acid (TCA), which kills cancerous cells after several days.
If any of these non-surgical skin cancer treatments interest you, please contact Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology online or call 801-682-4715 to speak with a board-certified dermatologist in Salt Lake City.
Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology – http://www.dwoseth.com/
Salt Lake City, UT
Spring is here! You may be excited for more sunshine and warmer temperatures, but this time of year is when skin damage becomes more prevalent. Learn six facts about skin cancer, and then take the necessary steps to protect yourself from excessive sun exposure.
More than 3.5 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year.
Risk factors for getting skin cancer include:
- Blonde or red hair, freckles, and fair skin that burns easily
- A history of excessive sun exposure (your skin never forgets sun damage)
- Tanning bed use
- 50 or more moles (atypical or large moles are especially likely to develop melanoma)
- A suppressed immune system caused by disease or medical treatment
- A personal or family history of skin cancer
Skin cancer can affect anyone.
While certain people are more at risk for skin cancer than others, anyone can suffer from excessive sun exposure. In fact, people of color are more likely to receive a late diagnosis because they don’t know they’re susceptible to skin cancer until it’s too late. Dark-skinned people are more prone to skin cancer in unlikely areas, such as the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, groin, inside the mouth, and under the fingernails.
Excessive sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer.
A whopping 90 percent of skin cancer cases are attributed to UV light exposure from the sun and tanning beds. High exposure during childhood increases the risk. In fact, a single blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence nearly doubles a person’s chance of developing melanoma.
Indoor tanning is dangerous.
The artificial UV light that darkens your skin in a tanning bed is no safer than UV light from the sun. Researchers estimate that indoor tanning is responsible for around 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the US each year. Due to widespread tanning among young females, the most susceptible demographic are women under age 45.
Sunscreen and sun-smart habits can prevent skin cancer.
UV light is the biggest risk factor for skin cancer, and it’s also the most preventable! Follow these top sun protection tips:
- Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen labeled 30 SPF or higher. Reapply every one to two hours, especially while swimming or sweating profusely.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants when outside for long periods.
- Minimize your sun exposure from 10 am to 4 pm when UV rays are at their strongest.
- Seek shade when outside between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Skip the tanning salon.
Skin cancer is curable.
Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are all highly curable—if they’re detected early. Perform a monthly self-exam and visit the dermatologist any time you notice a suspicious mole.
It’s perfectly normal to have up to 60 moles by the time you’re 25. You may have had a few when you were born, but most moles develop gradually into adulthood. Most moles are simply cosmetic changes to the skin and will never cause problems. However, keeping an eye on new and changing moles can help you catch skin cancer early. The trick to knowing every inch of your body is to print out a body mole map and record what you see over time.
Begin with a Skin Cancer Self-Examination
While it’s recommended that you see a dermatologist for professional skin cancer screenings once a year, this is something you should also do at home once a month. The most common places for skin cancer to develop include the face, chest, arms, calves, and other places that receive the most sun exposure.
Still, skin cancer can develop anywhere, so be sure to take a good look at every part of your body during a skin self-exam. Remember to check your underarms, between your fingers and toes, the palms of your hands, the soles of your feet, and your scalp. Use a full-length mirror and a hand mirror or get help from another person to examine hard-to-see areas.
Record Your Moles
The American Academy of Dermatology has a skin cancer body mole map you can download for free. You’ll see that the chart includes the front and back of your body, your head from four different angles, and the bottoms of your feet.
As you examine your skin, mark your moles in the appropriate places on the map and number them as you go. Then, there’s a place to document the characteristics of each mole for your records.
Print out 12 copies of the body mole map for each person in your family so everyone can fill it out once a month for a year. This makes it easy to see which moles are changing or taking on concerning characteristics as the months go by.
Know the Warning Signs of Skin Cancer
Becoming intimately familiar with the locations and traits of your moles is important because cancerous moles have unique characteristics. If you notice any of ABCDEs of skin cancer, call a dermatologist right away. These include:
- Asymmetrical moles, where one half looks different from the other
- Borders that are irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined
- Colors that vary from one part of the mole to another
- Diameter that exceeds the size of a pencil eraser (6mm)
- Evolving moles that change color, shape, or size relatively rapidly
At Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology, we have more than 30 years of experience providing skin cancer treatment to Utah residents. Our team of board-certified dermatologists can provide the effective, compassionate service you’re looking for. If you have any troubling moles, or you’re looking for dermatology services in Salt Lake City, please contact Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology online or call us at (801) 682-4715.
How much do you know about skin cancer? In the United States, more than a million people each year are diagnosed with the two most common forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Less common is melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, but all of these cancers are curable if detected early. Does that mean that everyone should see a dermatologist for regular skincare screenings? Not necessarily.
No research has been conducted to determine whether routine screening for melanoma is effective for people without a familial history of skin cancer. Periodic skin examinations by the patient or the primary care physician are typically the way changes to the skin are noticed, and those exams seem to be the key to catching skin cancer at the earliest stages. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma appear as skin changes, and the primary care doctor sends the patient to a dermatologist for a skin examination and biopsy.
Family history raises the risk of melanoma, as does the presence of atypical moles or several common moles. Other risk factors include previous skin cancers, skin that burns easily, freckling, blue eyes, red hair, and a history of blistering sunburns. Screening people with these risk factors doesn’t seem to reduce the number of melanoma deaths.
You should know the signs of skin cancer, and have a doctor check out anything suspicious. Watch for atypical moles, also known as dysplastic nevi, which have irregular borders, vary in color, or are asymmetrical. Learn how to identify the three major types of skin cancer.
- Basal cell carcinoma: The most common kind of skin cancer is characterized by pearly, translucent growths that may crust, ulcerate, or bleed.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: This looks like basal cell carcinoma but is more aggressive and can go internally.
- Malignant melanoma: This potentially life-threatening skin cancer can arise from an existing mole, or from normal skin. Look for pigmented lesions, asymmetrical in shape, with irregular, scalloped, or jagged edges. They’re more than one color like black, blue, or brown, and show unusual thickening and dramatic growth.
While regular screenings are not recommended, you should talk to your doctor if you experience:
- Lesions that change from their original appearance
- Lesions that appear differently from your other moles
- Sores that don’t heal within one or two months
- Lesions that are worrisome to you in any way
At Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology, we’re committed to providing superior, professional skin care in a manner that’s practical and efficient, yet compassionate. With more than 30 years of experience providing dermatological services in Salt Lake City, we provide a wide range of services, from cosmetic skincare to treatment for skin cancer. Our team of board-certified dermatologists and licensed cosmetic service providers, along with our friendly staff, are here to provide you the care you need in a comfortable and professional atmosphere. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us through our website or call (801) 682-4715 today.
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Prevention and early detection are the best ways to overcome this disease, no matter your age.
New Cases of Skin Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), nearly 100,000 new cases of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—are expected to be diagnosed in 2019. It’s important to note that other forms of skin cancer, including basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, are actually more common, but because nonmelanoma skin cancers are not required to be reported to cancer registries, it is difficult to estimate the true number of new cases. The most recent study of these occurrences estimated that 5.4 million cases were diagnosed among 3.3 million people in 2012.
Skin Cancer by Age Groups
Melanoma diagnoses have been on the rise for the past 30 years, but trends differ by age group and gender. Here are some of the reasons for this as hypothesized by the ACS:
- Under age 50, skin cancer is more prevalent in women than in men. This could be due to young women sunbathing and visiting tanning booths more frequently than men.
- By age 65, skin cancer rates in men double, and by age 80, they triple. This is caused by the increased likelihood for men of retirement age to engage in more outdoor recreational activities.
- From 2006 to 2015, the incidence rate of skin cancer increased by 3 percent among both women and men in the 50-and-older age group, but it remained stable among those under age 50. This might be because, as knowledge of skin cancer risk grows, the younger population is starting to take more effective precautions against it.
- From 2007 to 2016, the mortality rate for melanoma declined by about 2 percent per year in adults age 50 and up. The rate decreased by about 4 percent per year in the under-50 age group. Greater attention to the importance of early detection could be the reason for lower mortality rates among younger people.
How to Reduce the Risk of Skin Cancer
The probability of developing melanoma increases with age because sun damage accumulates over the years. Your skin doesn’t reset each summer—every sunburn and even every tan you get raises your risk as the years pass. While family history is a factor, especially for melanoma, a majority of skin cancer cases could be avoided if people practiced better sun protection. Here are some tips to help prevent skin cancer:
- Apply sunscreen every day.
- Wear protective clothing and sunglasses.
- Seek the shade.
- Avoid sunbathing and tanning booths.
- Perform self-evaluations once a month and visit a dermatologist once a year.
Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology offers skin cancer screenings and treatments to help keep you healthy and well. If it’s been more than a year since your last visit, please contact us at 801-682-4715 to schedule a consultation with one of our Salt Lake City dermatologists.
Although skin cancer is often mentioned as a single disease, there are actually multiple types. Each type of skin cancer has its own set of symptoms, treatments, and prognoses, so it’s important to talk to your dermatologist for a better understanding of your skin cancer risk. Here is a closer look at the different types of skin cancer.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, and fortunately, it usually grows very slowly. It is most common in fair-skinned people and appears as a flesh-colored or pink bump or patch of skin. It can form anywhere on the body, but it most common on the head, neck, and arms. With early diagnosis, your dermatologist can remove cancer before it affects the underlying nerves and bones.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinomas look like sores or scaly patches of skin that may seem to heal and then reappear. They usually grow on skin that gets the most sun exposure, including the arms, chest, back, and neck, and they also frequently appear on the face. In some cases, squamous cell carcinomas are preceded by precancerous growths called actinic keratoses. Treating the actinic keratoses can prevent squamous cell carcinomas from developing. If you have a squamous cell carcinoma, your dermatologist will need to remove it to prevent it from spreading.
Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer. Changes in existing moles or the appearance of new moles are often the first signs. It’s important for melanoma to be treated in early stages, since it can quickly spread to other parts of the body. If you notice the symptoms, see your dermatologist right away.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma
Merkel cell carcinomas are rare, but they are extremely dangerous. They typically look like bluish or flesh-colored nodules on the face, head, or neck. Like melanoma, this kind of skin cancer can quickly spread to other parts of the body.
Early diagnosis is crucial for skin cancer, so make an appointment at Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology if you think you could have any symptoms. To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist in Salt Lake City, call (801) 266-8841.
Malignant melanoma is a deadly skin cancer. Dermatologists have good success treating it if it’s diagnosed early, but when it goes undetected, melanoma can become very serious. Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take to dramatically reduce your risk of developing malignant melanoma and other skin cancers. In addition to taking the following precautions, you should schedule a skin cancer screening every year, and do a skin self-exam monthly.
Avoid unnecessary sun exposure.
It’s a common myth that unprotected exposure to sunshine is healthy, given the need for vitamin D. But actually, humans only need a little bit of sun exposure to absorb vitamin D. This vitamin is also present in some enriched food products. So protect your skin by staying out of the sun as much as possible. Schedule outdoor activities for the morning or evening hours, when the sun is weakest. When you do go outdoors, wear clothing that covers much of the skin, and put on a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses labeled for UV protection. If you shop around, you can even find clothing designed to reduce UV exposure.
Avoid tanning beds.
Artificial sources of UV rays are just as harmful as UV rays from the sun. Avoid tanning beds at all costs. If you want to get your skin glowing, you can use a tanning lotion that doesn’t require any UV exposure to work.
Use sunscreen every day.
Everyone should apply sunscreen every day, no matter what time of year it is or what the weather is like outdoors. Clouds aren’t effective filters for UV rays, and cold temperatures have no effect on them at all. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply a generous amount to all areas of exposed skin, making sure to get commonly missed areas like your ears, back of the neck, face, and back of the hands. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you sweat heavily or go swimming.
Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology invites new and current patients to schedule a skin cancer screening at our state-of-the-art dermatology clinic in Salt Lake City. We emphasize the critical importance of preventive health because the well-being and quality of life of our patients are important to us. You can reach us at (801) 266-8841.
Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the U.S., but there are many steps you can take to reduce your risk. Watch this video to find out how you can work with your dermatologist to prevent skin cancer.
Wearing sunscreen daily can protect your skin from the damaging rays that cause skin cancer. Because catching skin cancer early is an important part of successful treatment, inspect your skin carefully on a regular basis and report any changes to your dermatologist as soon as possible. You should also see a board-certified dermatologist regularly for skin checks.
Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology provides comprehensive general and cosmetic dermatology in Salt Lake City, including skin care checks and treatments. To make an appointment, please call (801) 266-8841.
If you ask any dermatologist, you will learn that prevention is critical when it comes to avoiding skin cancer. Use the following tips to help reduce your chances of suffering from this potentially life-threatening condition:
Protect Your Skin
Shielding your skin from excessive sunlight is one of the best ways to reduce your chances of developing skin cancer. Stay in the shade as much as possible, particularly between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM which is when the sun is strongest. Never let your skin burn. Every day, be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides both UVA and UVB protection along with an SPF of at least 15. Apply 1 ounce of sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply it every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
Cover Your Skin
In addition to regularly using sunscreen and avoiding sunburns, wearing the right clothing can help protect your skin from cancer. Cover as much of your skin with clothing as you can by wearing long sleeves and pants. Also, wear sunglasses to protect the skin around your eyes and a large-brimmed hat to shield your scalp and face from the sun.
See Your Dermatologist
One of the most significant things that you can do to help keep your skin cancer-free is to see a dermatologist at least once per year. In addition to performing a head-to-toe self-exam once per month, annual skin cancer screenings are an essential step in preventing skin cancer. Your dermatologist can spot signs of pre-cancerous skin conditions, and melanoma is nearly 100% curable if it is caught early. Also, if you have a sore that has not healed for a month or more, a lesion that looks different than your other moles, or a lesion that has changed in appearance, then see your dermatologist as soon as possible.
Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology offers high-quality skin care products and treatments to help promote the health of your skin. To learn about our services or schedule a skin cancer screening with one of our Salt Lake City dermatologists, please call (801) 266-8841.
It’s not uncommon for individuals to have developed dozens of moles by the time they are in their mid-20s. Moles are generally harmless, but it is important to monitor your skin for signs of unusual changes and to consult a dermatologist if you notice any abnormalities. For example, some people may experience an itching or burning sensation, especially if a mole sustains physical trauma.
As you’ll learn by watching this video, cancerous growths almost never cause any symptoms that a person can feel such as burning or itching. However, if these abnormal sensations persist longer than a few weeks, it’s a good idea to talk to a dermatologist.
New and current dermatology patients can call (801) 266-8841 to schedule a comprehensive skin cancer screening at Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology. Our dermatology clinic in Salt Lake City is devoted to helping our patients become informed about the risks of skin cancer .
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