Skin cancer is the most prevalent of all types of human cancers. Fair-skinned people who sunburn easily are at particularly high risk for developing skin cancer. Other less important risk factors of skin cancer include repeated medical and industrial x-ray exposure, scarring from diseases or burns, occupational exposure to compounds such as coal tar and arsenic, and family history of skin cancer.The two primary forms of skin cancer are melanoma skin cancer and non-melanoma skin cancer. Non-melanoma skin cancer includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. 

Dermatologists are experts in determining whether a particular lesion on your skin is suspicious for cancer or not. If your dermatologist is concerned about a specific spot on your skin, a small in-office procedure called a biopsy can be performed to make a definite diagnosis.

If a skin lesion turns out to be cancerous, the most common treatment is complete surgical removal. This can be done in our office by a variety of techniques or through a Plastic or Moh’s surgeon. There are other methods to treat skin cancers, including using liquid nitrogen (aka dry-ice or cryotherapy) or using advanced immunological chemotherapy creams. Your dermatologist will discuss the best way to proceed. 

Early detection of skin cancer is the best cure. We recommend that you develop a regular routine to inspect the spots on your skin for any skin changes. If a lesion on your skin (mole or tag or keratosis, brown spot, etc.) appears suddenly or begins to change, see a dermatologist.

The best defence for the prevention of skin cancer is sun avoidance. Overexposure to sunlight or tanning beds is the leading cause of skin cancer. Early sun exposure and blistering sunburns are particularly harmful. Dermatologists recommend seeking out shade on sunny days and avoiding the sun between 10am and 4pm. Sun protective clothing with long sleeves and pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses are excellent ways to reduce exposure further. Lastly, wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF of 30 with both UVA & UVB protection is ideal.

Dermatologists encourage the liberal and frequent use of sunscreen and don’t subscribe to the belief that they are dangerous.

Contact us at Heart Lake Dermatology to book your medical OHIP covered consultation.