People living in warmer climates or who spend a lot of time outdoors may enjoy the pleasure and benefits of the sunshine. However, over time exposure to the sun’s rays can leave the skin vulnerable to developing certain types of malignant skin cancers.
Skin cancer is a deadly disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the skin. It typically occurs on the visible outer layer (epidermis) in sun-exposed areas like the face, hands, arms, and legs. Ultraviolet radiation (UV-rays), present in sunshine or tanning beds triggers mutations or genetic defects that lead the skin cells to multiply and form malignant tumors.
The majority of skin cancers fall into one of three following categories:
- Basal cell carcinoma comes from the basal cells in the lowest part of the epidermis (the majority of skin cancers).
- Squamous cell carcinoma comes from keratinocytes, the skin cells that make up the top layers of the skin.
- Melanoma comes from pigment-creating skin cells called melanocytes. Although less prevalent, melanoma is the most dangerous, rapidly spreading type of skin cancer.
Skin cancer is quite easy to detect with regular skin examinations, which increases the chance of early treatment. The goal is to intervene early and prevent further spreading of cancer cells to other tissues of the body. At Levy Dermatology, we recommend monthly self-examinations. Feel free to refer to our skin self-exam video.
We recommend a doctor perform annual skin-examinations, but more frequent checks are necessary if you have a family history of skin cancer or a previous diagnosis. Be sure to tell your doctor about any unusual skin changes or lesions.
If you have basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma, at Levy Dermatology we specialize in removing your cancer with Mohs Micrographic Surgery. With this highly-specialized technique, cancer cells can be removed one layer at a time while preserving healthy tissue.
Moh’s surgery is performed under local anesthesia (lidocaine) by an accredited dermatologist who will numb and remove the visible tumor. A thin layer of skin is then removed with a scalpel and examined under a microscope. If further cancer cells are present, another layer is removed, and this process continues until cancer cells are no longer present.
Careful reconstruction and repair are customized to your specific wound usually on the same day as your surgery.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery offers the highest cure rate (up to 99%), lowest chance of re-growth, and minimizes the potential for scarring or disfigurement.
To learn more about treating basal cell carcinoma with Mohs Micrographic Surgery, please schedule your consultation by either filling out the form on this page or by calling Levy Dermatology, serving Memphis & Collierville at (901) 295-0183. We look forward to working with you!