What kind of doctor treats skin cancer?

Can a primary care doctor diagnose skin cancer?

Although a skin exam with your primary care physician (PCP) can be a starting point in evaluating your skin for cancer, a dermatologist is the expert. Since a PCP will often refer you to a dermatologist if they aren’t sure about a spot, it makes sense to go straight to a dermatologist for an exam.

How do dermatologists treat skin cancer?

Treatment

  • Freezing. Your doctor may destroy actinic keratoses and some small, early skin cancers by freezing them with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery). …
  • Excisional surgery. …
  • Mohs surgery. …
  • Curettage and electrodesiccation or cryotherapy. …
  • Radiation therapy. …
  • Chemotherapy. …
  • Photodynamic therapy. …
  • Biological therapy.

Do Dermatologists treat melanoma?

Melanoma is a major focus of dermatology training and practice, with dermatologists playing a central role in managing melanoma through primary prevention, secondary prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of thinner tumors.

Do I need to see an oncologist for melanoma?

If you have advanced melanoma, you’re likely to see a team of medical specialists. An oncologist (doctor who specializes in cancer) may create your treatment plan.

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What happens if you leave skin cancer untreated?

However, left untreated, BCCs can grow deeper into the skin and damage surrounding skin, tissue, and bone. Occasionally, a BCC can become aggressive, spreading to other parts of the body and even becoming life threatening.

Can a doctor tell if a mole is cancerous just by looking at it?

Unfortunately, you can’t tell by looking at a mole whether it’s cancerous or what type it is. It could very well be a normal skin spot with an abnormal appearance. A dermatologist can’t always tell the difference either.

Can you scrape skin cancer off?

During electrodessication and curettage, an outpatient procedure, doctors numb the skin using a local anesthetic and scrape off cancer cells with a tool called a curette, a small scoop that has sharp edges. They then apply electricity with a probe to stop any bleeding. This process is repeated several times.

What happens if Basal cell carcinoma is left untreated?

If left untreated, basal cell carcinomas can become quite large, cause disfigurement, and in rare cases, spread to other parts of the body and cause death. Your skin covers your body and protects it from the environment. Your skin is composed of three major layers, the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue.

How quickly can skin cancer spread?

Melanoma can grow very quickly. It can become life-threatening in as little as 6 weeks and, if untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun. Nodular melanoma is a highly dangerous form of melanoma that looks different from common melanomas.

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Can you have melanoma for years and not know?

How long can you have melanoma and not know it? It depends on the type of melanoma. For example, nodular melanoma grows rapidly over a matter of weeks, while a radial melanoma can slowly spread over the span of a decade. Like a cavity, a melanoma may grow for years before producing any significant symptoms.

How can you tell if a spot is cancerous?

Redness or new swelling beyond the border of a mole. Color that spreads from the border of a spot into surrounding skin. Itching, pain, or tenderness in an area that doesn’t go away or goes away then comes back. Changes in the surface of a mole: oozing, scaliness, bleeding, or the appearance of a lump or bump.

Can melanoma be completely cured?

Treatment can completely cure melanoma in many cases, especially when it has not spread extensively. However, melanoma can also recur. It is natural to have questions about the treatment, its side effects, and the chances of cancer recurring.

What are the symptoms of melanoma that has spread?

If your melanoma has spread to other areas, you may have:

  • Hardened lumps under your skin.
  • Swollen or painful lymph nodes.
  • Trouble breathing, or a cough that doesn’t go away.
  • Swelling of your liver (under your lower right ribs) or loss of appetite.
  • Bone pain or, less often, broken bones.

Does melanoma show up in blood work?

Blood tests. Blood tests aren’t used to diagnose melanoma, but some tests may be done before or during treatment, especially for more advanced melanomas. Doctors often test blood for levels of a substance called lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) before treatment.

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