Finding the most effective skin cancer treatments in Plano
Your skin is utterly unique. So is your heredity, medical status, and lifestyle. When faced with a diagnosis of skin cancer, there is no single go-to solution since effectiveness depends on many factors. Patients of DSA Dermatology in Plano get the highest level of personalized attention with skin cancer treatments in the experienced care of Dr. Daniel Achtman and Dr. Carmine McConnell.
Q: Is skin cancer serious?
A: Skin cancer, especially in its early stages, is easy to ignore. A spot may look like other moles, warts, or complexion imperfections that you have lived with for years. It probably doesn’t hurt, and it may not appear to be growing. Yet cancerous lesions are insidious. Even though they appear small on the surface, mutated DNA could be causing cells to multiply rapidly, invading deeper skin layers and tissues.
Basal cell carcinomas rarely metastasize (spread to other organs) or become life-threatening. Without treatment, however, surface lesions begin to erode healthy skin, and may chronically ooze or bleed. As the deeper tumor enlarges, it distorts facial features or body contours.
Waiting to seek treatment simply means:
- Living with disfigurement longer.
- The discomfort and expense of extensive reconstructive surgery.
- A poorer cosmetic outcome.
Squamous cell carcinomas tend to grow a bit faster and may be sensitive or painful to the touch. This type of skin cancer can spread to lymph nodes (particularly in the neck) and organs in other areas of the body. Anyone with a compromised immune system is at a higher risk.
Melanomas are, of course, the most critical type of skin cancer. Melanoma has great potential to turn metastatic, spreading to the:
- Lymph nodes
- Tissues beneath skin
More than 96,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with melanoma this year. Over 7,000 people will die from it.
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Q: Why is individualized treatment so important?
A: At DSA Dermatology, the goal of every skin cancer treatment is three-fold. First, to eradicate cancerous cells as completely as can be done, reducing risk of recurrence. Second, we want to accomplish that with the best possible aesthetic outcome. Third, we strive for minimal risk of side effects or health implications.
To determine the most appropriate treatment plan, our doctors carefully evaluate several factors, directly correlating to the above priories. We analyze what type of skin cancer you have, where on the body it is located, and to what stage it has progressed. We consider whether your health is otherwise robust, if you are managing a medical condition, what medications you take for it, and your age. Your pain tolerance, job (and thus allowance for downtime), lifestyle habits, and hobbies go into the equation. We look at the overall condition of your skin, your skin tone, and propensity to scarring.
With an overview of these important facets, the team designs a treatment strategy that is specifically tailored to deliver the best results.
Q: Which dermatologists in Plano provide a range of skin cancer treatments?
A: DSA Dermatology is equipped with the latest diagnostic and skin cancer treatment technologies, backed by the extensive experience of Dr. McConnell and Dr. Achtman. Your treatment begins with a physical examination and biopsy. Then, addressing the cancer may involve one or a combination of techniques such as:
- PDT – Photodynamic therapy begins with application of drugs that cause cancer cells to become sensitive to light. Then, cancerous cells are destroyed with light energy.
- Cryotherapy – Liquid nitrogen is applied to a precancerous or small, early skin cancer. The chemical freezes, causing treated tissue to shed.
- C & E – Curettage and electrodesiccation involves use of a circular blade (a curette) and an electric needle to obliterate cancer cells.
- Excision – Cancerous tissue and a measure of surrounding healthy skin is removed with a scalpel.
- Mohs micrographic surgery – This precise technique is ideal for recurring skin cancers or those in difficult-to-treat areas. The technique has an extremely high cure rate and preserves maximum healthy skin. However, it is not appropriate for all types of skin cancer.
- Radiation therapy – Radiation may be necessary for a lesion that cannot be entirely removed with surgery.
- Chemotherapy – Chemical agents may be used topically to kill cancer cells in lesions residing only in uppermost layers of skin. Systemic chemo is used when cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
- Biologics – This leading-edge therapy stimulates your body’s own immune system to combat cancerous cells.
There are three important things to remember about skin cancer – every unusual spot should be evaluated by a qualified dermatologist; every skin cancer diagnosis should be taken seriously; every patient receives personalized skin cancer treatments at DSA Dermatology in Plano, TX. Call (972) 362-9567 for an appointment.