Caring for your Skin and Cancer Screenings
Skin is the body's largest organ. Our skin has three main layers that not only protect the body, but are subject to various ailments, including skin cancer. If cancer should appear anywhere on our vast amount of skin, the key to successfully treating it is to catch it early.
Our providers are known for their thorough, full-body skin exams, taking extra time not always found at other healthcare settings. This attention to detail allows us to prevent problems, spot potential trouble, conduct appropriate tests, and – if cancer is detected - treat it early enough to demonstrate excellent outcomes.
A primary care physician or a dermatologist can see you for cancer screenings if you have a family history of skin cancer, have had chemotherapy, a history of breast cancer, have had extensive sun or tanning bed exposure and have fair skin.
Schedule an appointment to have Overlake’s dermatologist check your skin using our dermatoscope, which magnifies skin by 10 times and allows for better viewing to avoid unnecessary biopsies. Between appointments, it’s also important to regularly check your skin at home.
Overlake treats all types of skin cancer, from basal and squamous cell to melanoma. We can treat benign and malignant skin lesions, cysts and bothersome moles in the office. If the Mohs procedure is needed, we can coordinate your care and make an excellent referral.
Types of skin cancer:
Basal Cell is the most common skin cancer. It starts in basal cells in the deepest part of the epidermis skin layer. It's usually found on sun-exposed skin, like the face, ears, neck, trunk, or arms, but it can start anywhere. These lesions vary in color and may be waxy, pearly, scaly, or scar-like. Tiny blood vessels can sometimes be seen through the lesion’s surface. These lesions can bleed easily and might not heal well. Nearly all basal cell cancers can be treated and cured if they're found early.
Squamous Cell is the second most common type of skin cancer. It starts in flat cells called squamous cells. Lesions often form on the face, ears, neck, hands, or arms – places that get a lot of sun. The lesions are firm, red bumps or flat, scaly, crusty growths. They may be sores that keep healing and reopening. Squamous cell carcinoma is more likely to grow and spread to other parts of the body than basal cell carcinoma, though this is rare. Most squamous cell carcinoma is found early enough to be treated and cured.
Melanoma is a less common, but much more dangerous kind of skin cancer. It starts in skin cells called melanocytes. It's much more likely to grow and spread than basal or squamous cell cancers. Finding and treating it early is key. It's often not easy to tell where a melanoma lesion’s borders are. It's often brown or black, but may be a mix of colors with pink, tan, or white. The shape and size of melanoma lesions tend to differ from one side to the other. Melanoma is most often found on sun exposed skin, but can start anywhere, like the genitals, mouth, palms of hands, bottoms of feet, and under the nails.
Overlake is affiliated with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, which means you have access to the best oncologists and surgeons and to clinical trials that are paving the way for the most advanced cancer treatments.