Skin Cancer Treatment in Boston, MA

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What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is something no one wants to be diagnosed with; however, dermatologist Dr. Vladyslava Doktor is skilled in diagnosing and treating her Boston, Dover, Dedham, and surrounding area patients. From actinic keratosis (precancer) to melanoma, squamous cell, and basal cell cancer, Dr. Doktor and her team are skilled in treating various types of cancer at Skin Center Boston. Whether it's in the form of a crusty or scaly patch on the skin or raised bumps or lumps, it's important to have these spots checked out at the first sight to see if they are cancerous or something else.

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer can present itself in various forms, depending on the type of skin cancer a person has.

Actinic keratosis (AK) is the most common form of precancer and is caused by excessive exposure to UV rays, either from the sun or a tanning bed. AK is detectable by a flat to a slightly raised rash on the skin, sometimes with a raise horn shape or bump on it. It's usually pink to red but can also be a silvery or brown color. It is most commonly presented on the face, lips, ears, scalp, shoulders, neck, hands, and forearms. Those that have AK are more prone to developing actinic keratoses, putting them at higher risk of squamous cell carcinoma.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops when pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) mutate and start uncontrollably dividing. Research is still ongoing, however, some common risk factors include a large number of freckles, a lot of moles, pale skin that burns easily, light eye color, red or light hair, high exposure to the sun, family members with melanoma, organ transplant, as well as older age and more. Skin changes, like a new mole or a change to an existing mole, spots that become itchy or painful, firm lumps that bleed, red spots that are dry and flat, and sores on the skin that fail to heal are all common symptoms of melanoma.

Squamous cell carcinoma is found most often in people with fair skin and sun-damaged skin, as well as men and women who have had organ transplants and frequently use tanning beds. Signs of this cancer include rough, red patches on the skin, open sores with a raised border, brown spots similar to age spots, dome-shaped growths, small horns (shaped like a rhinoceros) growing on the skin, and sores developing on older scars.

Basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of cancer, is caused by DNA changes to the basal cells in the outer layer of skin. Risk factors include UV exposure, history of skin cancer, chronic infections, or skin inflammation, as well as fair skin. Men and those over 50 years old are also more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. There are four warning signs of basal cell carcinoma: an open sore that doesn't heal, a reddish or irritated patch of skin, a small pink growth, and a scar-like area that is flat and white or yellow in color that is shiny.

Skin Cancer Treatment

Dermatologist Dr. Vladyslava Doktor and her Boston, MA team are highly skilled in detecting, diagnosing, and treating various forms of cancer, including actinic keratosis, basal and squamous cells carcinomas, and melanoma. At Skin Center Boston, our priority is helping you to feel in charge of your cancer diagnosis by offering a variety of treatment options that will help you slow down and possibly rid your body of cancerous cells. If you are in Boston, Dover, Natick, or the surrounding area, call Dr. Doktor today for a consultation.

How is Skin Cancer Treated?

Skin cancer can be treated in various different ways, depending on what type of cancer is being treated. At Skin Center Boston, dermatologist Dr. Doktor and her team use a few different forms of treatment.

Topical chemotherapy is used to treat basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma where they have not spread to the lymph nodes. This topical cream is applied directly to the skin and kills the cancerous cells over time.

Photodynamic therapy is used to treat certain types of cancer, as well as precancer. This is a drug that is used to kill cancer cells when it is "activated" by a certain light. This outpatient treatment allows the treatment to precisely target areas of the skin and tends to leave little to no scarring.

Cryosurgery is used to treat actinic keratosis, as well as basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. It uses a cryoprobe to connect with the tumor where ultrasound technology or an MRI is used to freeze the cancerous cells and slow down growth.

Lastly, Dr. Doktor and her team use electrodessication to treat cancer. During this treatment, Dr. Doktor will use a special tool to remove the top layer of skin, then will use an electric current to heat the cancerous area to destroy cancer cells.

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