What causes skin cancer?
Skin cancer happens when the body’s immune system doesn’t halt the growth of abnormal skin cells. Many types of cells can become cancerous, hence the many different names. When it comes to the skin, cumulative cellular DNA damage (from things like too much sun exposure, environmental exposures, poor diets) can lead to skin cancer.
Most skin cancers, if caught early enough, can be taken care of by cutting out the cancerous cells and some surrounding skin. More aggressive cancers or cancers that have been left unchecked can be more problematic and require additional therapies.
Dermatologists are the skin cancer experts when it comes to detection, diagnosis, and treatment. Your dermatologist will look over the entirety of your skin and will be able to tell benign lesions from cancerous ones. If your dermatologist thinks a lesion is potentially cancerous, a small skin biopsy is obtained so that it can be viewed under a microscope. If cancer is detected, then topical anti-cancer drugs or an office-based surgical procedure is generally sufficient to take care of it.
Dermatologists are extensively trained in skin cancer surgery and place an emphasis on not only the cure, but the cosmetic outcome of the scars as well.