Skin Cancer Treatment in Austin, TX
With more people diagnosed with skin cancer every year in the U.S. than every other form of cancer combined, the skin cancer epidemic is a rapidly rising and growing threat. In fact, estimates suggest that 1 out of 5 Americans is going to have some form of skin cancer before age 70. Due to the disease’s widespread prevalence, it is important to have a general understanding of skin cancer in the event you may need treatment. At Tru-Skin Dermatology, we are proud to offer an extensive array of skin cancer treatments, as well as free skin cancer screenings throughout the year in different Central Texas locations.
Skin cancer types
Defined as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells, skin cancer is generally a locally destructive malignant skin growth. It starts in the epidermis cell, but it rarely metastasizes (spreads to other body parts) to become life threatening.
There are two main groups of skin cancers, non-melanoma and melanoma. The main types of skin cancer are:
- Basal cell carcinoma (non-melanoma)
- Squamous cell carcinoma (non-melanoma)
- Malignant melanoma (melanoma)
The two most prevalent types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma makes up nearly 3 out of 4 skin cancers and grows slowly, while squamous cell carcinoma grows faster and has a larger chance of spreading. However, these non-melanoma skin cancers are almost never life-threatening and do not spread far beyond the skin.
Melanoma has the potential to be much more aggressive and potentially life threatening. It starts within skin cells that produce pigment (known as melanocytes), but is far less prevalent than the non-melanoma skin cancers. Melanoma may begin as a birthmark or mole in dark skin tissue and may show up almost anywhere, ranging from the arm, leg, palm, foot sole, or mucus linings (such as the mouth). While it is not hard to detect and can be easily cured (it has a 98% cure rate if detected during the earliest stages), melanoma does grow much faster and can spread to other body parts beyond the skin if not detected and treated.
What causes skin cancer and who commonly gets it?
One of the primary things that leads to skin cancer is spending excessive time in the sun. Sunlight’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are able to mutate the DNA in skin cells, which could potentially lead to cancer. UV rays can also be found in sunlamps and tanning booths.
The lighter your skin, the more likely you are to get skin cancer, as you will have less protective melanin. Skin cancer is most likely to affect people who:
- Have red hair
- Are blond with blue eyes
- Have pigment disorders
- Have many freckles or moles
- Live in areas of extreme sunlight
However, people with darker skin may also get skin cancer, although it usually will show up in lighter areas of the body, such as fingernails. Before age 49, white women are more likely to develop melanoma, but after 50, a higher proportion of men are likely to develop the disease.
Skin cancer treatment options
At Tru-Skin Dermatology, we offer a full array of skin cancer treatments, and we work closely with our patients to create an individualized, custom-tailored plan to treat your skin in the event you develop cancer. After an in-depth examination and interview, we will be able to provide you with the most advanced surgical and nonsurgical options, which are as minimally invasive and as pain free as possible.
Nonsurgical treatment options
With the SRT-100 Vision™, Tru-Skin Dermatology is proud to be one of the first dermatology practices in the country to treat skin cancer with painless superficial radiation technology (SRT). With the SRT-100 Vision™, we are able to use high-frequency ultrasound for imaging, which allows us to view areas that are treated during the treatment process. This provides the added advantage of being able to assess and more precisely target basal and squamous cell carcinomas and keloid tissue, creating a more tailored treatment regimen for each patient.
The SRT-100 Vision™ also allows us to use the latest advancements in ultrasound technology during the laser positioning system, for detailed adaption when determining how much radiation needs to be used. This is the perfect option for patients over 65 or who suffer from diabetes or heart issues and are on blood-thinning medications such as aspirin. This FDA-approved device is the ideal nonsurgical skin cancer treatment option, with a more than 95% cure rate for non-melanoma skin cancers, and at least 90% cure rates for keloid scarring. As a minimally invasive procedure, there is no pain or downtime involved. As the Center for Excellence and one of the few offices to offer SRT throughout Central Texas, we invite you to get in touch for more detailed information.
Surgical treatment options
Various surgical options are available for skin cancer treatments, dependent on many factors such as your surgical and medical history and type of skin cancer. All of our Tru-Skin Dermatology offices have many years of experience and will complete your skin care surgery with maximum comfort and effectiveness.
- Mohs surgery: The most advanced and highly effective skin cancer surgery available, Mohs has a 99% cure rate for basal cell carcinoma and 95% for squamous cell carcinoma—the highest for any surgical procedure. As the gold standard for skin cancer, Mohs leaves slight scarring and is done on site with local anesthesia in one visit. Physicians identify the tumor throughout skin layers and are able to precisely and exactly remove them, leaving other skin cells and tissue unharmed.
- Skin biopsy/mole removal: After one of our free cancer screenings, we may do a biopsy over a small sample of suspicious skin. We numb the area so you will feel no pain, remove a small sample of skin to diagnose it and identify if it is cancerous or benign, and then set up your next appointment.
- Curettage: During this procedure, the tumor is numbed and scraped with a sharp instrument known as a curette. The edge is cauterized with an electric needle, which makes it a quick process. However, the scar may be more visible than after Mohs surgery.
- Surgical excision: After numbing the tumor area, the tissue that includes the tumor is removed and the wound is closed with sutures. If the tumor is larger in size, skin grafts will be used. With a cure rate in the 90th percentile, surgical excision allows an in-depth examination of the specimen to ensure the tumor has been successfully removed.
Other surgical options include chemical peels and freezing. For more detailed information, contact our experienced team at Tru-Skin Dermatology for our unparalleled pain-free and effective approach to dealing with skin cancer. A portion of all patient visits and services is donated to The Shade Project, a skin cancer prevention nonprofit initiative started by Dr. Daniel Ladd, President of the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD), and his wife. Call us at (512) 451-0139 to book an appointment today.