The words "skin cancer" can be scary to hear, especially knowing that the United States alone sees millions of new diagnoses each year. When it comes to skin cancer, Charleston-area dermatologists Dr. Marguerite Germain and Dr. Joseph McGowan understand that patients facing the prospect of dealing with the disease want answers to their questions and to know that they are getting the best care they can.
That's why Germain Dermatology is committed to helping you stay as healthy and beautiful as possible by encouraging three strategies: prevention, detection, and treatment. Avoiding sun exposure by using sunscreen and protective coverings is the best first line of defense. Regular visits with a dermatologist who will inspect you from head to toe for signs of skin cancer is a key strategy, too, since early detection greatly increases your chances of a better outcome. If skin cancer is diagnosed, treatment with the most advanced techniques available can often yield very positive results.
Skin cancer typically falls into one of three categories:
All three of these cancers have a common root cause: cellular damage at the DNA level, which can be due to exposure to ultraviolet radiation, also known as sunburn-generating light that comes from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds.
This cancer forms in the basal cells, which create new skin cells to replace old ones that are no longer viable. It may appear as a bump or flat patch of scaly skin, and is the most common form of skin cancer. It is also slow to grow and spread and can be quite effectively treated, especially if caught early.
Dr. Marguerite Germain is known for her passion and desire to help others. In addition to her medical training she has long since developed an eye for beauty. Inspired by years spent traveling, particularly in Italy, her artistic talent evolved into inspiring confidence in others through her practice.
While not as prevalent as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma is still common, forming in the upper layers of the skin and spreading more rapidly. This cancer, too, can be treated surgically for a very positive outcome.
The most aggressive and fatal of skin cancers, melanoma is also the least common. Forming in the cells that create pigment, melanoma requires special treatment and should be addressed as quickly as possible.
Melanoma and other skin cancers may resemble a mole, so any suspicious spots or growths should be examined by a dermatologist. Be particularly aware of moles that are asymmetrical, have an irregular border, change in color or are multi-colored, are growing or larger than the size of a pencil eraser, or are otherwise evolving.
The Mohs technique is an advanced method for treating certain types of skin cancer by eliminating unwanted tissue with precision while maximizing the preservation of healthy tissue. While it is not a solution to melanoma, it can be quite effective in treatment of basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Learn more about it on our page devoted to explaining Mohs surgery.
Skin cancer is serious, which is why the team at Germain Dermatology is devoted to educating patients and providing the full force of our years of experience and knowledge of dermatology.