Skin cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. Experts estimate that more than two million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. Coloradans’ active lifestyle at high altitude creates a higher risk than those at lower altitudes. The good news is that skin cancer can be treated successfully when caught early.

The skin cancer experts at Sky Ridge are highly experienced and use the latest techniques to diagnose and treat all types of skin cancer. In addition, our team uses a multidisciplinary, coordinated approach to cancer care.

Types of skin cancer

  • Melanoma—Although melanoma is one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer, it can be completely cured if found early and completely removed. Most melanomas are brown, blue, black or multi-colored with brown, red, blue and black areas. Melanomas may itch or bleed, but most melanomas cause no symptoms. Look for moles with irregular shapes or borders.
  • Basal cell carcinoma—Can be flat, raised or shiny and can be red, pink or clear in color. Some larger basal cell cancers may be crusted over or ooze. They may also heal and come back.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma—Are usually new growths. They look like cuts that have not healed, and they may bleed easily. They may also have a hard, rough or scaly appearance.

Treat your skin as well as it treats you. If you notice any changes or abnormal areas, see your doctor right away.

Mohs micrographic surgery

Mohs micrographic surgery, or Mohs microsurgery, is an extremely precise treatment for basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. Because the roots of skin cancer often extend beyond the visible tour, Mohs surgeons use microscopes and careful retrieval of cancerous tissue to ensure complete removal of the cancer to the root.

This precision leads to an estimated 99 percent cure-rate for new cancers and 95 percent cure-rate for recurrent cancers. Additionally, the procedure decreases the chance for regrowth while minimizing scarring and damage to surrounding, healthy tissue.

Skin self-exam

When performing a skin self-exam, it is important to check your whole body thoroughly, not missing any areas. Pay close attention to your scalp, neck, arms and other areas on your head and face that receive a lot of sunlight. Become familiar with where your moles, birthmarks and blemishes are located and what they look like.

Bend your elbows and look carefully at your forearms, upper arms and hands. Make sure to check the undersides of these areas as well. Look at the back and front of your legs and feet. Do not forget between your toes and the soles of your feet. Check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror.

Skin cancer: What you need to know