Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. If you have skin cancer, it is important to know which type you have because it affects your treatment options and your outlook (prognosis).
Cancer Care of North Florida will take careful steps stage and grade the tumor to assess the best way to create and manage your treatment plan. Our goal is to achieve the very best outcome while preserving your quality of life.

What are the different types of Skin Cancer?

Types of skin cancer include:

  • Basal cell
  • Squamous cell
  • Melanoma
  • Merkel cell
  • Lymphoma of the skin
  • Kaposi sarcoma

The type of skin cancer and the level of invasiveness is determined by diagnostic testing and imaging.

What are the risk factors for Skin Cancer?

It may be possible to avoid some risk factors for skin cancer, but some are out of your control. The best plan is to catch it early. Lifestyle and hereditary factors include:

  • Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure (major risk factor)
  • Having light colored skin/freckling/light hair
  • Smoking
  • Psoriasis treatment
  • Long term or severe skin inflammation or injury
  • Moles
  • Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP)
  • Previous radiation exposure
  • Weakened immune system
  • Human papillomavirus infection (HPV)
  • Merkel cell polyomavirus infection (MCV)
  • Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV)
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Personal history of skin cancer
  • Basal cell nevus syndrome (Gorlin syndrome)
  • Genetic syndromes
  • Workplace exposures
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Gender/Age/Race/Where you live

Symptoms of Skin Cancer Include:

  • Flat, firm, pale or yellow areas, like a scar
  • Rough or scaly red patches that may crust or bleed
  • Raised reddish patches that might be itchy
  • Wart-like growths
  • Small, pink, or red, translucent, shiny, pearly bumps, which might have blue, brown, or black areas
  • Pink growths with raised edges and a lower area in their center, which might contain abnormal blood vessels spreading out like the spokes of a wheel
  • Open sores (which may have oozing or crusted areas) that don’t heal, or that heal and then come back
  • New spot on the skin that might be changing size, color, or shape
  • Spot looks different than other spots on the body
  • Sore that doesn’t heal
  • Skin itchiness, tenderness, or pain

It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between a benign, non-cancerous mole and skin cancer but seeking care early and having regular skin screening can help find cancer earlier and improve outcomes.

Skin Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

At Cancer Care of North Florida, once cancer has been diagnosed, our specialists may order diagnostic testing and imaging to help determine the stage and extent of the disease. It is very important to do a comprehensive skin cancer work-up to carefully evaluate the extent of skin cancer.

  • Skin biopsy
  • Shave (tangential) biopsy
  • Punch biopsy
  • Excisional and incisional biopsy
  • Optical biopsy (RCM)
  • Fine needle biopsy
  • Lymph node biopsy
  • Lab testing for gene changes
  • Chest x-ray
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound
  • PET imaging

Depending on the type and stage (severity) of the skin cancer, the following treatments may be necessary. Skin cancer treatment depends on the extent of the cancer within your body. At Cancer Care of North Florida, we use the most advanced therapies available to treat skin cancer. An individualized plan of care may include multiple types of treatments.

Surgical options may include:

  • Excision including surrounding normal tissue
  • Curettage and electrodesiccation
  • Mohs surgery
  • Lymph node dissection
  • Amputation

Other forms of non-surgical interventions for skin cancer include:

Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
Topical chemotherapy
Immune response modifiers
Laser surgery
Chemical peeling
Intralesional chemotherapy
Photodynamic therapy
Radiation – Any remaining cancer cells left after surgery are destroyed with high-energy radiation beams. For some skin cancers, treating with chemotherapy at the same time can make radiation therapy work better. It is possible to receive radiation therapy before, during or after surgical intervention. Also, when surgery is not possible, radiation can be used to help slow the growth of the tumor. We work closely with Cancer Care of North Florida Radiation Oncology located on campus.
Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy (chemo) are anti-cancer drugs that may be given intravenously (injected into your vein) or by mouth. The drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells in most parts of the body. Chemotherapy can sometimes be given before, during or after surgery. At Cancer Care of North Florida, our team provide extensive education and supportive care through your therapy.
Targeted Treatments – Targeted drugs work differently from chemo drugs. They sometimes work when chemo drugs don’t, and they often have different side effects. They can be used either along with chemotherapy or by themselves if chemotherapy is no longer working. Targeted treatment options are determined by further genetic testing of the tumor cells. This type of testing is usually done on the biopsied tissue of the tumor cells.
Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy is the use of medicines to help a person’s own immune system better recognize and destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapy can be used to treat some people with advanced, malignant skin cancer.

Why Choose Us?

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with skin cancer, it is crucial to work with a team of cancer experts who not only have extensive experience, but also a strong track record for achieving the best possible outcome for their patients. While this type of cancer is treatable, the dedicated team Cancer Care of North Florida will initially stage and treat this form of cancer and monitor and treat cancer recurrence or complications that may occur later.

At Cancer Care of North Florida, our physicians are highly specialized in treating multiple types of cancer with the most advanced techniques. Using a team approach, we strive for excellence. We work with each patient to specifically tailor their treatment to their own clinical situation. One of the common diseases that we treat is skin cancer.

  • Highly trained, collaborative oncology specialists all currently taking new patients
  • Consultation appointments scheduled within 3-5 days of referral and in some cases same-day appointments available
  • One-stop campus for comprehensive diagnositics and treatment for many types of cancer including radiation, chemotherapy infusion, lab draws and imaging services
  • Onsite infusion center offers comfortable, home-like setting
  • In-office lab testing
  • In-office medication dispensary
  • Open, immediate access to outpatient symptom management
  • 24-hour physician coverage
  • COPI-certified clinical trials
  • We accept most insurance plans including Medicare, Medicaid, and VA