Skin Cancer is the Most Common Form of Cancer
One in five people over the course of a lifetime and over one million people each year are diagnosed with skin cancer, making it the most common form of cancer in the United States.
Skin cancer refers to the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of skin cells. The most common skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. A rarer but more dangerous skin cancer is melanoma, the leading cause of death from skin disease.
Board-certified dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon Dr. Alexander Gross highly recommends his patients to undergo routine skin examinations to prevent and detect skin cancer or any other dangerous growths such as moles or pre-cancerous skin lesions. He also advises against excessive sun exposure and strongly supports wearing high SPF protection to avoid a diagnosis of skin cancer.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal Cell Carcinoma forms in basal cells that line the epidermis or the top layer of the skin. It is the most common type of skin cancer and most often develops on the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders, and back; the areas most exposed to the sun. People with fair skin, blond or red hair, and blue, green, or grey eyes are most at risk for developing basal cell carcinoma, but everyone has some risk. Basal cell carcinoma appears as a small, dome-shaped, pimple like growth that varies in size and shape. In early stages, the growth may appear as a shiny, pink patch and even contain visible blood vessels.
Basal cell carcinoma usually grows very slowly and often doesn’t show up for many years after intense or long-term exposure to the sun. Basal cell carcinoma is a localized destructive tumor, that is left untreated can cause irreversible damage or disfigurement. While this cancer is the least risky type of skin cancer, early diagnosis and treatment is crucial.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
The second most common form of skin cancer is Squamous Cell Carcinoma, a cancer that arises in the squamous cells of the epidermis. Like Basal Cell Carcinoma, most cases appear in the areas of the body that are most exposed to the sun: the rim of the ear, lower lip, face, scalp, neck, hands, arms and legs. Squamous cell carcinoma is mostly seen in people with fair skin, blond or red hair, and blue, green, or grey eyes.
Squamous cell carcinoma is caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight or from tanning beds or lamps. While it is usually not life-threatening, it can be more aggressive in some cases. Untreated, it can grow large or spread to other parts of your body, causing serious complications.
Squamous cell carcinoma grows faster than basal cell carcinoma, especially when located around orifices like the eyes or mouth. Any non-healing sore or red, crusted, or scaly patch should be checked out by a dermatologist. More aggressive forms of squamous cell carcinoma can spread to lymph nodes or other internal organs, and left untreated the disease can lead to irreversible skin damage or disfigurement.
Melanoma is the most dangerous and life-threatening form of skin cancer. Ultraviolet or UV radiation can be attributed to about 65% of melanoma cases. Risk of melanoma more than doubles if a person has had five or more blistering sunburns at any age. Melanoma originates in melanocytes, the pigment producing cells of the skin, hair, and eyes. Most melanomas appear as asymmetrical, irregularly bordered, multicolored black or brown spots that continue to grow over time. Some even appear as skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. While sun exposure, number of moles on the skin, skin type, and family history are all factors that can greatly determine a person’s risk, everyone has some risk of developing melanoma. Any suspicious, atypical moles or deep pigmented areas on the skin should be checked out by a dermatologist as soon as possible. If caught early, melanoma is almost 100% curable
Actinic Keratosis is a scaly or crusty skin lesion and is commonly referred to as a precancer. Cumulative sun damage is responsible for almost all actinic keratosis and although most are benign, the development of actinic keratosis on the skin indicates it has incurred sun damage and is at greater risk for developing skin cancer. A biopsy of the tissue will determine if the lesion is cancerous. Georgia Dermatology offers many effective ways to treat actinic keratosis.
Dr. Alexander Gross is an experienced physician in treatment of skin cancer with over 25 years of experience. If you are concerned that you may have some unusual changes to moles or other changes on your skin, make an appointment now with Dr. Alexander Gross or one of his PA’s Kristin Gregory or H.A. Sanders at Georgia Dermatology Center in Cumming, GA. Dr. Gross treats skin cancer patients from all over north Georgia including Atlanta, Alpharetta, Molton, Roswell, Johns Creek, Canton, and Gainesville, GA.
Georgia Dermatology Center has now partnered with Olansky Dermatology & Aesthetics. This partnership gives our patients added confidence and convenience when choosing the right source for their skin-related medical needs.
Our acclaimed providers, staff, and top-tier level of service will remain the same, Dr. Gross will be here to lead the charge at our Cumming office. We will continue to provide our patients with the same quality care and excellent service that has made us the “Best of Forsyth” for eight years in a row.
Georgia Dermatology Center’s suite of services will be increased by several additions. These include Mohs surgery, an advanced surgical procedure that removes skin cancer effectively using only local anesthesia. Additionally, this partnership will allow our patients to take advantage of a larger group of accepted insurance options. This widens the scope of patient access without incurring out-of-network fees.
The end result of this merger will only heighten patient care, and that our primary mission.