Skin cancer

Did you know Arizona is ranked second in the world for frequency of skin cancer just behind Australia?
It’s true.
The Valley of the Sun, with its intense sun exposure and high levels of UV radiation, is a hot bed for the three most common forms of skin cancer: melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.


Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer.  It is a cancer composed of deranged melanocytes, which are the pigment cells in the skin.  The same power that enables some people to develop a rich tan can also be misguided to become cancerous.  Melanoma can begin with any typical pigmented lesion, such as a mole, freckle, or birthmark.  The lethal potential of melanoma is evidenced in its ability to spread through the blood and lymphatic system with metastasis to such organs as the lung, brain, kidney, and liver.  If untreated or undiagnosed, melanoma can produce significant morbidity and mortality with lethal potential.  It is the most terrifying form of skin cancer.  Patients are encouraged to exam their skin monthly for any dark spots or changes in their skin appearance.  This includes any change in shape, color, or size of any moles or freckles.  The sudden onset or appearance of a new pigmented spot can also be cause for concern.  Even longstanding or previously stable moles, freckles, and pigmentary lesions are not exempt from the potential to change into melanoma.  Here at Derma we perform full skin examinations and skin biopsies if necessary.  We perform full surgical excisions in the office under local anesthesia for all melanomas.  Call for an evaluation for moles and potential melanoma.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most dangerous skin cancer of the common three.  It is usually produced by previous sun exposure and exacerbated by ongoing sun exposure.  Squamous cell carcinoma traditionally forms as a crusted lesion or bumpy spot.  Diagnosis is confirmed by a skin biopsy.  Squamous cell skin cancer can be very aggressive with spread through the blood and lymphatic system with distant metastasis to internal organs.  Many squamous cell carcinomas, if diagnosed properly and within a reasonable time frame of their first appearance, can be taken care of by Mohs micrographic surgery or surgical excision here at Derma without any significant health risks.  Call for a skin exam to assess your risk for squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the least invasive form of skin cancer.  It commonly shows up as a bleeding, shiny, or bumpy lesion.  It usually does not spread internally, but it can invade local tissues and, if ignored, can spread deeper into cartilage, muscle, and bone.  Surgical excision by Mohs micrographic surgery is the gold standard for the treatment of basal cell carcinomas of the head and neck.  Regular surgical excision is an adequate therapy for basal cell carcinomas on other body areas.  These procedures are performed in the office under local anesthesia here at Derma. Call for an appointment to rule out possible basal cell carcinoma.