So You've Got Skin Cancer — What Now?

Getting a cancer diagnosis can feel frightening. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with skin cancer, you might be feeling scared and worried about what’s next.

Thankfully, with early detection and treatment, the vast majority of skin cancers are more treatable than you might realize. At his dermatology practice in Hackensack, New Jersey, Allen Sapadin, MD, regularly supports patients with a skin cancer diagnosis through treatment.

If you suspect you have skin cancer or just received a diagnosis, here’s what you can expect to happen next.

Determining the type of skin cancer

If Dr. Sapadin suspects you might have skin cancer, the first thing he determines is what type of skin cancer you have and the stage of the cancer. Skin cancers range from stage 1 to stage 4, with stage 1 cancers being completely localized in one area, while stage 4 cancers have metastasized from the skin to other places in the body.

To learn more about the kind of skin cancer you have, Dr. Sapadin performs a biopsy with a sample from any concerning moles or skin marks. Depending on the kind of skin cancer, he might need to do additional tests to determine the cancer stage.

The three most frequent types of skin cancer are called basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is a slow-growing cancer that develops in the lowest part of your skin.

Squamous cell carcinoma, on the other hand, grows from the top layer of your skin. Melanoma develops in your skin pigment and is the fastest growing and most dangerous of the three skin cancers, but it has a highly successful treatment rate when detected early.

Developing a treatment plan

Once Dr. Sapadin knows more about the type of skin cancer you have, he develops a personalized treatment plan. These are some of the most common procedures and treatments he performs or prescribes for patients with skin cancer.

Cryosurgery

This straightforward outpatient procedure involves removing cancerous tissue through freezing, then removing, any cancerous cells. Dr. Sapadin uses this treatment for basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.

Phototherapy

By using laser therapy, phototherapy destroys cancerous cells on the skin. This treatment is another excellent option for people who have basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma.

Mole excision

Mole excision is a localized procedure where Dr. Sapadin removes your cancerous mole and sometimes some of the skin close to it. Excision surgery is often the best treatment option if you’ve been diagnosed with melanoma.

Radiation

If you still have cancer cells in your body after cryosurgery, phototherapy, or mole excision, you might also need radiation. Radiation kills cancerous cells by using energy beams similar to those you might find in an X-ray.

Chemotherapy

Like radiation, chemotherapy is an excellent treatment if your cancer has spread beyond a small, localized area. Dr. Sapadin prescribes chemotherapy in forms ranging from topical creams to more systemic, full-body treatments.

Concerned about skin cancer? We can help

When it comes to treating skin cancer, early diagnosis and treatment are key. When caught and treated early, even the most invasive melanomas have a high treatability rate.

Dr. Sapadin is highly experienced at treating patients with skin cancer. If you’re in the Hackensack, New Jersey, area and are worried you might have skin cancer, please make an appointment online or call 201-525-0057.

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