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Skin cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., with more than 3.5 million skin cancers diagnosed in more than 2 million people each year. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer. Types of skin cancer include: basal and squamous cell, merkel cell, lymphoma of the skin, and Kaposi sarcoma. Melanoma is less common, but more serious than other types of skin cancer. It accounts for less than 5% of all skin cancers, but its incidence has been increasing for the last 30 years. Skin cancer occurs when the skin cells are damaged by ultraviolet radiation. The biggest risk factors for skin cancer are sun exposure and use of tanning beds. Ways to prevent skin cancer include not using tanning beds, wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, and staying out of the sun.

Screening & treatments

Keep an eye on any changes in your own skin, including new or changed moles or growths and see a doctor if you notice any changes. A skin cancer screening involves a full-body visual inspection of your skin by a medical professional. If necessary, your doctor will perform follow-up tests such as biopsies.

If caught in the early stages, skin cancer is highly treatable. Excision (surgical removal) is common for many skin cancers. Certain Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinomas are treated with a specialized type of surgical removal known as Mohs Micrographic Surgery. This surgery is the single most effective technique for removing basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas which are the two most common skin cancers. This allows for a 99% cure rate as well as excellent cosmetic results. In some cases, additional types of surgery or radiation may be used. In cases of advanced melanoma, the medical oncology team at White Plains Hospital is using new immunotherapies for treatment.

The White Plains Hospital Center for Cancer Care has a team of experts who can provide coordinated care and individualized treatment in a comfortable, convenient setting – no matter what your skin cancer diagnosis.