Bryan C. Hicks, M.D.
Dermatologist located in Ocala, FL & The Villages, FL
Like other cancers, it’s critical to find and treat skin cancer at an early stage, which you can do with the comprehensive services available at Marion Dermatology, in Ocala and The Villages, Florida. With his years of expertise, Bryan Hicks, MD, helps each patient by evaluating their skin and expertly removing worrisome spots and lesions to eliminate skin cancer, while also ensuring the best cosmetic results. To schedule an appointment, call one of the offices or use the online booking system today.
Skin Cancer Q & A
What causes skin cancer?
The top cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, whether it comes naturally from the sun or from a tanning bed. If you don’t protect your skin with sunscreen or clothing, you’re at risk for skin cancer. But your chances are higher if you have:
- Numerous moles
- Fair skin
- Blond or red hair
- Family history of skin cancer
- History of blistering sunburns
Another significant risk factor is your cumulative exposure to sunlight over the years.
What should I know about the different types of skin cancer?
The most critical thing to know about skin cancer is that it can all be cured, but only when they’re diagnosed and treated at an early stage. These are the most common types of skin cancer:
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
The most common form of skin cancer, BCC most often appears on your face and neck, where it can take on several forms, including:
- Raised pink or pearly white bumps
- Pigmented bumps that resemble moles
- Sore that continuously heals and reopens
- Flat, scaly scar with a waxy appearance
Despite its varying appearances, all BCC lesions tend to bleed with little or no cause. Without early treatment, BCC invades deep into the surrounding tissues.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
SCC, the second most common type of skin cancer, possibly can spread throughout the body if not treated. This skin cancer most often appears on your scalp, face, ears, and the back of your hands.
SCC often begins as dry, scaly lesions called actinic keratoses. These lesions are usually pink, but can vary in color, even blending in with your skin. Actinic keratoses are benign at the start, then turn into cancer over time.
When melanoma goes undiagnosed and untreated, it rapidly spreads to your lymph system and internal organs, where it’s hard to treat. Melanoma causes more deaths than other types of skin cancers even though it’s the least common type.
Melanomas often grow inside existing moles, but they also appear as new dark brown or black spots that resemble moles.
You have a better chance of finding skin cancer early by regularly examining moles and all other spots on your body for changes in their appearance and shape. You can also schedule skin check-ups with Dr. Hicks.
How do you treat skin cancer?
Dr. Hicks approaches skin cancer treatment with two goals. The first is to protect your health by identifying and completely eliminating all signs of cancer before it spreads.
The second goal, is equally important. He protects your appearance by restoring any wounds created when the lesion is removed. For Dr. Hicks, it’s not just about getting rid of cancer; it’s also about getting the best aesthetic results and ensuring you look great after your treatment.
If you’re diagnosed with actinic keratosis or other precancerous changes, Dr. Hicks may use BLU-U® blue light photodynamic therapy to kill dangerous cells.
Skin cancer is treated by removing the tumor and then evaluating the tissues to be certain all cancer cells were eliminated. In most cases, that’s done by sending the tissue to a specialized lab.
Dr. Hicks may use one of several techniques for removing skin cancer, including cryosurgery, curettage and desiccation, surgical excision, and Mohs micrographic surgery.
Mohs micrographic surgery is an advanced procedure that examines the tissues in the office right after the tumor is removed. If any signs of cancer cells are found in the margins, more tissue is removed until every trace of cancer is gone.
In some cases, he may prescribe topical creams that stimulate your immune system or recommend radiation therapy if your tumor is hard to treat.
Whether you’re worried about a change in a skin spot or you’d like to receive a full skin evaluation, call Marion Dermatology, or schedule an appointment online.