No one wants to be alarmed about a new growth or change to a spot he or she has always had. Accordingly, Dr. Gerald Bock emphasizes the importance of early detection, self- and professional exams, and preventive techniques. It can’t be said enough — If found and removed early, skin cancers are almost always curable.
Even a few decades past, those with some skin cancer diagnoses may have faced a very grim outlook, especially if the growth had metastasized or spread to other areas. Today, thanks to clinical research, there is a considerably brighter outlook for even the most complicated of cancers. That said, the sooner we can identify a suspicious lesion as cancerous, the earlier Dr. Bock and his team at California Skin & Laser can develop a course of treatment, limiting the need for extensive procedures or complications.
Be vigilant about your skin. You may have heard of the “ABCDEs” of skin cancer detection. If you notice any of the following, make an appointment with us immediately:
- Asymmetry — If you can draw the line through the middle of a mole, spot, or elevated growth and the two sides don’t match, that can be a warning sign for cancers like melanoma
- Border — Benign growths and moles have smooth borders. Unevenly-shaped, scalloped or notched or spots may be cause for concern.
- Color — Spots and lesions of one color, such as brown, are typically less concerning than those featuring a number of different colors. You may also see tan, black, red, white or blue shades.
- Diameter — Just how big is a suspicious mole? Generally, cancers are larger around than a pencil eraser (or about one-fourth of an inch).
- Evolving — If you notice that a mole or spot is changing in size, shape, color, thickness, and/or is bleeding, itching, or crusting, these are red flags.
There is no substitute for professional examinations. Dr. Bock is a pioneer in the most precise and successful of melanoma treatments. As such, before embarking on the likes of Mohs Micrographic Surgery, he has examined skin changes that are concerning to individuals or those changes that may be spotted as part of a regular professional skin check. Even though you may be diligent about checking your skin for the “ABCs …,” Dr. Bock and his team are trained to look for these types of cancers and can also better examine areas that are hard-to-reach, such as the back and shoulders. These areas are also susceptible due to exposure from the sun’s UV rays.
A skin biopsy may be the next step. This involves taking a small sample of the suspicious looking area. This tissue will then be sent to a lab for testing. This biopsy can then determine both if you have cancer and the type. By determining both the type of cancer and the extent or stage of cancer Dr. Bock can get to work on identifying the best treatment options for you.
Whether you have new or changing moles or spots or not, don’t hesitate. Call California Skin & Laser on 209-751-4292, 209-330-0764 and 209-900-1343 to schedule an examination and, potentially, resolve any concerns or questions you may about skin cancer diagnosis in Stockton, Lodi, and Elk Grove.