Skin Cancer

What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is a disease in which skin cells lose the ability to divide and grow normally. Healthy skin cells normally divide in an orderly way to replace dead cells and grow new skin. Abnormal cells can grow out of control and form a mass or 'tumor'. When abnormal cells originate in the skin, the mass is called a skin tumor.

A skin tumor is considered benign if it is limited to a few cell layers and does not invade surrounding tissues or organs. But if the tumor spreads to surrounding tissues it is considered malignant or cancerous.

Click on each link to read about the most common types of skin cancer:
•  Basal Cell Carcinoma
•  Squamous Cell Carcinoma
•  Malignant Melanoma

What causes skin cancer?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. Energy from the sun actually is a form of radiation. It consists of visible light and other rays that people can't see. 

Some cases of skin cancer, however, may be hereditary and run in families. In those cases, skin cancer is caused by abnormal genes that children inherit from their parents.

Can anyone get skin cancer?
Anyone can get skin cancer. Although most cases occur in people over age 50 with fair skin, it can develop in younger people and those with dark skin. In general, an individual's lifetime exposure to UV light determines his risk.

What is the treatment for skin cancer?
Treatment depends on the type of skin cancer, its stage and location and the individual's age and overall health.  Simple treatment often can be done in the doctor's office. Most require only a local anesthetic.  Other options may include topical chemotherapy, radiation thereapy or MOHS micrographic surgery.  The patient goes home after treatment and can soon resume regular activities.  

Facial skin cancer and facial reconstruction surgery are two of Dr. Jeffrey Bakal's special interest areas.