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Local Care for Patients with Skin Cancer in Fall River & Fairhaven, MA

At Southcoast Health, we are skilled at caring for and treating patients with all types of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, affecting one in five Americans at some point in their lives. There are three main types of skin cancer:

  • Basal cell skin cancer arises from cells at the base of your skin. The most common type of skin cancer, it tends to grow slowly and rarely spreads. But, if neglected, it can destroy bone and other tissues under the skin.
  • Squamous cell skin cancer arises from cells in the outer layers of skin. It is the second most common type of skin cancer, and is more likely to grow deep and spread to other areas of the body.
  • Melanoma arises from skin cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin color. Melanoma makes up less than 2% of skin cancers, but it tends to spread quickly and accounts for almost all deaths from skin cancer. However, when this is caught early, it is almost always curable.

Skin cancer is highly preventable, and performing regular skin checks can help you find changes early when skin cancer is most treatable. If you’ve found something questionable on your skin, consult with one of our dermatologists in Fall River, Fairhaven or a nearby area to get the answers you need.

Risk Factors & Causes of Skin Cancer

Anyone can get skin cancer. However, these risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing it:

  • Actinic keratosis — a precancerous skin condition
  • Excessive exposure to UV light through sun exposure or tanning bed use
  • Fair skin, freckles and light hair
  • Family or personal history of skin cancer
  • History of sunburns going back to childhood
  • Male gender
  • Moles
  • Older age
  • Weakened immune system

Common Symptoms

Skin cancer most commonly occurs on sun-exposed areas of the skin; however, it’s possible to develop skin cancer just about anywhere, including the palms of your hands, genitals and inside your mouth.

Skin cancer looks different based on the type of cancerous cell:

  • Basal cell skin cancer may resemble a pale, waxy bump; a flat, flesh-colored growth that looks like a scar; a shiny, scaly patch that’s pink or red; or an open sore that does not heal.
  • Squamous cell skin cancer often appears as a flat, scaly skin patch; a skin lump with a rough surface; or open sore that does not heal.
  • Melanoma is like a mole that changes in any way including color, size or feel; a mole that bleeds; a brownish spot with darker speckles; or a spot or mole with irregular borders.

Treatment Options for Skin Cancer at Southcoast Health

Your skin cancer treatment will depend on the type, size and location of the cancer, and it may include:

  • Cryosurgery
  • Curettage and electrodessication
  • Medicated creams
  • Mohs surgery
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Radiation therapy (External beam therapy and brachytherapy)
  • Surgery

Chemotherapy or anticancer immunotherapy may also be necessary for skin cancer that has spread beyond the skin to nearby tissues, the lymph nodes or to other organs.

At the Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care, we provide advanced technology and treatment options for patients with skin cancer in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.