Skin cancers are common. Many are also curable when you seek treatment early, and they’re even preventable if you’re willing to follow a few basic guidelines. Catherine Ding, MD, FAAD, is a top-rated, board-certified dermatologist who is well-known for her expertise in treating skin cancer. She is the founder of City Derm NYC in New York City’s Chinatown and is also passionate about instructing her patients how to prevent these common, often curable cancers. Find out what you need to know about skin cancer. Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Ding. Call the office or book your visit online.
Like any cancer, skin cancer is the result of uncontrolled abnormal cell growth. This occurs when DNA damage to skin cells (often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations or genetic defects. These changes cause the affected skin cells to multiply rapidly and form tumors.
Typically named for the type of skin cell where they originate, the most common forms of skin cancer are:
Annual skin cancer screening and routine self-exams provide the best method for detecting changes early, when skin cancer treatment is most effective and very often curative.
Most moles remain noncancerous or benign. Made up of cells that provide color in the skin (melanocytes), moles occur when these pigment-producing cells clump together in a certain location. Benign changes in the shape, size, or color of a mole can occur.
A changing mole, however, does require evaluation by your dermatologist because melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is caused by abnormal growth in the same cells responsible for moles – melanocytes.
During skin cancer screening, Dr. Ding carefully evaluates every inch of your skin for signs of atypical moles or worrisome developments in a previously noted skin lesion. She also checks for precancerous changes known as actinic keratoses. Left untreated, these dry, scaly patches of skin can develop into squamous cell carcinoma.
Everyone benefits from skin cancer screening, but annual checks are especially important for those at higher risk of developing skin cancer, which includes individuals with:
Individuals with a significant number of benign moles are also more at risk of developing skin cancer.
Dr. Ding also provides comprehensive education regarding signs of potentially cancerous skin changes you can watch for at home. She also details practical steps you can take to help prevent skin cancer, such as ways to avoid long-term sun exposure.
Schedule your skin cancer screening today. Call the office or book your visit online.