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Skin Cancer

One in five Americans will develop some type of skin cancer over the course of their lifetimes.

With early detection and treatment, however, most skin cancers are completely curable. Early detection and treatment of any form of skin cancer is essential both to prevent the disease from spreading to other areas of the body and to achieving better outcomes.

The type of treatment a patient receives depends on the following:

  • How deeply the melanoma has grown into the skin.
  • Whether the melanoma has spread to other parts of the body.
  • The patient’s health.

Melanoma Treatment

Surgery: When treating melanoma, doctors want to remove all of the cancer. When the cancer has not spread, it is often possible for a dermatologist to remove the melanoma during an office visit. The patient often remains awake during the surgical procedures described below. These procedures are used to remove skin cancer:

  • Excision: To perform this, the dermatologist numbs the skin. Then, the dermatologist surgically cuts out the melanoma and some of the normal-looking skin around the melanoma. This normal-looking skin is called a margin. There are different types of excision. Most of the time, this can be performed in a dermatologist’s office.
  • Mohs Surgery: A dermatologist who has completed additional medical training in Mohs surgery performs this procedure. Once a dermatologist completes this training, the dermatologist is called a Mohs surgeon. 

    Mohs surgery begins with the Mohs surgeon removing the visible part of the melanoma. Next, the surgeon begins removing the cancer cells. Cancer cells are not visible to the naked eye, so the surgeon removes skin that may contain cancer cells one layer at a time. After removing a layer, it is prepped so that the surgeon can examine it under a microscope and look for cancer cells. This layer-by-layer approach continues until the surgeon no longer finds cancer cells. In most cases, Mohs surgery can be completed within a day or less. Mohs has a high cure rate.

When caught early, removing the melanoma by excision or Mohs may be all the treatment a patient needs. In its earliest stage, melanoma grows in the epidermis (outer layer of skin). Your dermatologist may refer to this as melanoma in situ or stage 0. In this stage, the cure rate with surgical removal is nearly 100%.

When melanoma grows deeper into the skin or spreads, treatment becomes more complex. It may begin with one of the surgeries described above. A patient may need more treatment. Other treatments for melanoma include:

  • Lymphadenectomy: This is surgery to remove lymph nodes.
  • Immunotherapy: Help the patient’s immune system fight the cancer (example: interferon injections).
  • Chemotherapy: Medicine that kills the cancer cells (and some normal cells).
  • Radiation therapy: X-rays kill the cancer cells (and some normal cells).

Other treatment that may be recommended includes:

  • Clinical trial: A clinical trial studies a medicine or other treatment. A doctor may recommend a clinical trial when the treatment being studied may help a patient. Being part of a medical research study has risks and benefits. Before joining a clinical trial, patients should discuss the possible risks and benefits with their doctor. The decision to join in a clinical trial rests entirely with the patient.
  • Palliative care: This care can relieve symptoms and improve a patient’s quality of life. It does not treat the cancer. Many patients receive palliative care, not just patients with late-stage cancer. When melanoma spreads, palliative care can help control the pain and other symptoms. Radiation therapy is a type of palliative care for stage IV (has spread) melanoma. It can ease pain and other symptoms.

Outcome

This depends on how deeply the melanoma has grown into the skin. If the melanoma is properly treated when it is in the top layer of skin, the cure rate is nearly 100%. If the melanoma has grown deeper into the skin or spread, the patient may die.

For more detailed information about skin cancer, visit www.skincancer.org

Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Information
  • The diagnosis and treatment of non-melanoma skin cancers in the U.S. increased by 77 percent between 1994 and 2014.
  • About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 4.3 million cases of BCC are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. More than 1 million cases of SCC are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, resulting in more than 15,000 deaths.
  • Organ transplant patients are approximately 100 times more likely than the general public to develop squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent.
Melanoma Information
  • One person dies of melanoma every hour.
  • An estimated 178,560 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2018. Of those, 87,290 cases will be in situ (noninvasive), confined to the epidermis (the top layer of skin), and 91,270 cases will be invasive, penetrating the epidermis into the skin's second layer (the dermis).
  • An estimated 9,320 people will die of melanoma in the U.S. in 2018: of those, 5,990 will be men and 3,330 will be women.
  • The vast majority of melanomas are caused by the sun. In fact, one UK study found that about 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
  • Compared with stage I melanoma patients treated within 30 days of being biopsied, those treated 30 to 59 days after biopsy have a 5 percent higher risk of dying from the disease, and those treated more than 119 days after biopsy have a 41 percent higher risk.
  • The estimated five-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 99 percent in the U.S. The survival rate falls to 63 percent when the disease reaches the lymph nodes and 20 percent when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.
  • Only 20 to 30 percent of melanomas are found in existing moles, while 70 to 80 percent arise on apparently normal skin.
  • On average, a person's risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.
  • Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.
  • Men age 49 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer.
  • From ages 15 to 39, men are 55 percent more likely to die of melanoma than women in the same age group.
  • Women age 49 and under are more likely to develop melanoma than any other cancer except breast and thyroid cancers.
  • The majority of people diagnosed with melanoma are white men over age 55. But up until age 49, significantly more white women develop melanoma than white men (one in 152 women versus one in 218 men). From age 50 on, significantly more men develop melanoma than women. Overall, one in 27 white men and one in 42 white women will develop melanoma in their lifetimes.
Indoor Tanning Information

The Dangers of Tanning


A tan, whether you get it on the beach, in a bed, or through incidental exposure, is bad news, any way you acquire it. Tans are caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning lamps, and if you have one, you’ve sustained skin cell damage.

Indoor Tanning Salons

No matter what you may hear at tanning salons, the cumulative damage caused by UV radiation can lead to premature skin aging (wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and more), as well as skin cancer. In fact, people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.

  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a proven human carcinogen.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, includes ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices in its Group 1, a list of agents that are cancer-causing to humans. Group 1 also includes agents such as plutonium, cigarettes and solar UV radiation.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices were reclassified by the FDA from Class I (low risk), to Class II (moderate to high risk) devices as of September 2, 2014.
  • Fifteen states plus the District of Columbia prohibit people younger than 18 from using indoor tanning devices: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia. Oregon and Washington prohibit those under age 18 from using indoor tanning devices, unless a prescription is provided.
  • Brazil and Australia have banned indoor tanning altogether. Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom have banned indoor tanning for people younger than age 18.
  • The cost of direct medical care for skin cancer cases attributable to indoor tanning is $343.1 million annually in the U.S.
  • More than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year are linked to indoor tanning, including about 245,000 basal cell carcinomas, 168,000 squamous cell carcinomas and 6,200 melanomas.
  • More people develop skin cancer because of indoor tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking.
  • Those who have ever tanned indoors have a 67 percent increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 29 percent increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.
  • Any history of indoor tanning increases the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma before age 40 by 69 percent.
  • Women who have ever tanned indoors are six times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in their 20s than those who have never tanned indoors. At all ages, the more women tan indoors, the higher their risk of developing melanoma.
  • One study observing 63 women diagnosed with melanoma before age 30 found that 61 of them (97 percent) had used tanning beds.
  • Individuals who have used tanning beds 10 or more times in their lives have a 34 percent increased risk of developing melanoma compared with those who have never used tanning beds.
  • People who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.
  • Indoor tanning among U.S. high school students decreased by 53 percent between 2009 and 2015.

Schedule your Skin Cancer Appointment


What Causes Skin Cancer and Precancerous Growths?

the #1 cause of skin cancer and precancerous skin growths are the ultraviolet rays (UVR) from the sun. Light from other sources such as fluorescent lights does not contribute to skin cancer. Additionally, tanning beds with artificial UVR most definitely add to the development of skin cancer.

How Can we Reduce our Sun Damage or Ultraviolet Light Exposure?
  • Education –family members, especially children
  • Sunscreen and protective clothing
  • Avoid most intense hours of day (10 am -3 pm)
  • PDT
  • Topical medicines
  • Cryosurgery
  • Regular check ups
How are Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers Treated
Non-melanoma skin cancers-basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) are successfully treated by a variety of techniques. The correct technique obviously depends upon the specifics of each skin cancer. These specifics include: location, size, quality of skin, aggressiveness of the growth pattern, whether it is a recurrent cancer (one that has been removed previously and come back), as well as the status of the patient’s immune system.

These options include (in no specific order):
  • ED&C electrodessication and curettage. This is typically used for non-aggressive skin cancers in lower cosmetic importance locations such as the trunk or extremities. The skin cancer is literally scrapped off and cauterized
  • Surgical excision- these skin cancers are generally well demarcated with clearly defined borders. The skin cancer is removed with a typical safety margin of 5-10 millimeters and submitted to a pathology lab for evaluation
  • Superficial Radiation Therapy (SRT) - this is a non-surgical option ideally utilized in patients older than 65 which is highly successful. Skin Care Physicians of Georgia is fortunate to have the only SRT unit in central Georgia.
  • Radiation Therapy- this type of treatment is typically reserved for patients with aggressive skin cancers who have poor health or are poor surgical candidates
  • Cryosurgery – the skin cancer is frozen to an ice ball.
  • Mohs Surgery
What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery is the most precise method for the removal of skin cancer. The dermatologist that removes the skin cancer personally examines the outside edges to be sure the margins of removal are clear. The peripheral margins are meticulously examined 360 around both on the surface and underneath typically by horizontally oriented frozen sections. Imagine you are looking at the pie crust around a pie. Well, with Mohs surgery, you are looking at the surface of the pie crust that is next to the pie tin or plate.

Mohs Surgery is unique in that it allows one to accomplish two very important goals:

  • 1st Goal- Mohs surgery has the highest cure rates available compared to any other technique or method.
  • 2nd Goal- It allows for the maximum conservation of normal tissue. This is highly important when the skin cancers are located in areas of high cosmetic or functional importance (face, eyelids, ears, lips, fingers, and genital areas). It is especially useful for higher risk tumors that may be invasive, large, and recurrent, have indistinct clinical margins, or occur in patients with weakened immune systems.
Why choose Mohs Surgery at Skin Care Physicians of Georgia?
  • Mohs Surgery at SCP of Ga sets the standard for the highest quality, service, and successful outcomes for patients in Central and South Georgia as well as beyond.
  • Founded by Dr. David Kent in 1987, he has devoted his 30 year career to helping patients successfully treat over 35,000 skin cancers by Mohs Surgery. He was the first full fellowship trained dermatologist in Mohs and reconstructive surgery outside of Atlanta in the State of Georgia. He is board certified and a fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery.
  • Dr. Kent is committed to his patients and treats each and every patient “as if they were his children”.
  • We receive referrals from physicians throughout Georgia and manage some of the most complex skin cancers in the state. For those patients with complex or difficult skin cancers, Dr. Kent may elect to discuss a patient’s unique needs at tumor conference. This way, a thorough discussion with a team of cancer experts will help to determine a patient’s best options concerning their skin malignancy.
  • Dr. Kent has full OR privileges at both Coliseum Medical Centers and Navicent Health Hospital and outpatient surgery centers.
  • Dr. Kent is one of only a few selected physicians in the US recognized by the American College of Mohs Surgery to train other board certified dermatologists in Mohs and reconstructive surgery.
  • He is recognized as a committed educator and is a clinical faculty member at Mercer University and the Medical College of Georgia. He has been an invited speaker and educator at the prestigious Superficial Anatomy and Cutaneous Surgery Course sponsored by the University of California San Diego and Scripps Clinic for 30 years.
  • Most important is Dr. Kent’s dedication to each patient’s comfort, safety, and results.
  • We are also pleased to announce the addition of our second fellowship trained Mohs Surgeon- Dr. Judah Greenberg to Skin Care Physicians of Georgia. He joined our practice in September 2017 and is highly trained, compassionate, and an excellent physician and Mohs Surgeon.
If you are interested in treatment of your skin cancer through Mohs surgery, how do you choose a qualified doctor?
While any dermatologist can perform Mohs Surgery legally, those dermatologists who complete an American College of Mohs Surgery (ACMS) -approved fellowship training program are significantly more rigorously trained than those physicians who do not. Fellows-in-training undergo a minimum of 1 year of extensive, hands-on direction from highly qualified instructors. By choosing a fellowship trained Mohs surgeon you can be assured that you will receive the highest standard of quality and competency, as well as an optimal outcome.

We help patients look better, not different.

Our mission at Skin Care Physicians of Georgia is to provide expert individualized service to each and every patient with skill and compassion. Our board certified physicians and professional staff are highly trained and strive to deliver ethical comprehensive care to all patients and to care for them "just as they would want their family treated."

From treatment of skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea to removal of warts, moles and other lesions, our office provides a full range of medical dermatological services so you can enjoy the healthy skin you deserve.

Skin Care Physicians of Georgia

308 Coliseum Drive | Suite 200
Macon, GA 31217
(478) 742-2180

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