Melanoma… the most serious of all skin cancers
If you have a brown, often flat, mole that has irregular pigmentation or shape and/or is not symmetric or is changing, make sure you see a dermatologist to get it evaluated. Non-melanoma skin cancer often starts with scaly flesh colored or red patches or “pearly” or scabby bumps that do not heal or continue to grow, or occasionally even pimple-like growths that never resolve. Melanoma is caused by sun as well as heredity, whereas non-melanoma skin cancer is caused principally by excessive UV radiation. It is important to detect early as most skin cancer, even melanoma, is curable with surgery alone.
Actinic keratoses, which are pre-cancerous scaly growths can be treated with cryotherapy (freezing), chemotherapy creams (Carac, Efudex, or Aldara) or photodynamic therapy (PDT). We specialize in PDT at Advanced Dermatology but use all methods. PDT is great in that it removes the precancerous spots with good cosmetic results and there are usually only a couple of days of redness and peeling. It also appears to prevent skin cancer and treats the entire area instead of just one or two specific spots.