No reputable dermatologist would let you walk out of the office without helping you establish an effective skin care regimen unique to your specific skin type and condition. At Art of Dermatology in New York City, Dr. Jessica Krant takes a personalized approach to skin care and is happy to recommend research-tested products to help improve the overall look and feel of your complexion.
Skin Cancer FAQs
At what age does skin cancer typically occur?
Skin cancer appearance generally increases with age because some types of skin cancer, specifically basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), are more directly linked to a history of sun exposure and sunburns. Melanoma (or malignant melanoma- MM) tends to be about 50% based on family history and genetics, and 50% based on sunburn history. That said, there are real skin cancers that rarely occur in small children, so any unusual mole or growth on a child should be checked by a board-certified dermatologist just to be sure.
Can a dry patch of skin be cancer?
Skin cancer can sometimes look like a dry patch of skin that does not respond to normal moisturizing and does not go away after an extended period of time. If you are concerned about a patch like this, it's best to see a board-certified dermatologist to check it to be sure. They can often tell just by looking, but may sometimes need to perform a painless, thin shave biopsy to double check.
Can a skin cancer look like a pimple?
Skin cancer can sometimes look like a pimple that does not heal by 2-3 months like an acne pimple would, and might sometimes bleed more easily or seem to heal and recur over many months. If you are concerned about a bump like this, it's best to see a board-certified dermatologist to check it to be sure. They can often tell just by looking, but may sometimes need to perform a painless, thin shave biopsy to double check.
Can a dermatologist tell if you have skin cancer?
A board-certified dermatologist is specially trained to be an expert in the health of skin, hair, and nails. Dermatology is the only field of medicine with this specialty. Dermatologists are the doctors who diagnose skin cancer as part of their training and specialization. In many cases, a dermatologist can tell just by looking if a growth is skin cancer. They can also often tell just by looking if a growth is *not* skin cancer. In some in between cases, the dermatologist may recommend a small painless test called a skin biopsy to have the tissue checked under the microscope in a lab. In other cases, a dermatologist may recommend watching the spot for changes and rechecking it at a future visit in a few days, weeks, or months. In these cases it is important to keep the follow up appointment. Additionally, in some cases the growth may appear at first benign to the dermatologist, but if you know it is new, unusual, or bothersome in a unique way, it may be worth asking for the biopsy anyway. On rare occasion, growths that appear benign at first can turn out to need more treatment.
Can laser remove skin cancer?
Lasers and laser treatments are under investigation for being able to safely remove skin cancer, but the risk that some cancer cells remain under the surface is still there. Without checking the skin cells themselves under a microscope to be sure, there is a risk that skin cancer may recur underneath the surface. In certain cases where someone is not a good candidate for surgery, this may be an option to consider, but the gold standard for skin cancer treatment is still surgical removal with margins being checked under the microscope.
Can skin cancer go away by itself?
Skin cancers may appear to heal and recur over time at first, but generally skin cancer is not a condition that fully heals itself, once visible to the naked eye.
Can skin cancer kill you?
Unfortunately, skin cancer can be very serious in some cases and can kill you. There are three main types of skin cancer: melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. Each type of skin cancer develops when a different type of healthy skin cell turns bad. Melanoma is the cancer that develops when melanocytes, the cells that create skin pigment, turn bad. Malignant melanoma (MM) is the most deadly of the three types of skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is derived from squamous cells turning bad. SCC is the second most deadly type of skin cancer, and is most deadly when found in the head and neck area. Basal cell carcinoma, (BCC) is the most common and least deadly form of skin cancer. BCC forms from the basal cell layer of the skin, the base layer at the bottom.
Can skin cancer show up suddenly?
Skin cancer can sometimes show up shortly after a sunburn, but most often takes some time to develop to grow enough to be visible to the naked eye.
Can you have skin cancer for years and not know?
Yes. You can definitely have skin cancer for years and not know. This is why dermatologists recommend a yearly complete skin check by a board-certified dermatologist, the doctors most trained to recognize when a spot is skin cancer. Dermatologists also check areas that don't usually get seen, including your scalp,. between your toes, and other areas hard for you to see yourself.
Does skin cancer show up in blood work?
In most cases, the three main types of skin cancer do not show up in blood work or a blood test. This is why it is important to see a board-certified dermatologist to examine your skin regularly.
Can you spread skin cancer by picking it?
Skin cancer is not contagious or infectious, so it does not spread on the surface of the skin if you scratch or pick it, but it could theoretically be possible to spread cancer cells into your bloodstream if you pick too much at a skin cancer.
Does sunscreen stop skin cancer?
Sunscreen reduces the incidence (development) of skin cancer, but does not stop skin cancer from forming entirely. Staying in the sun too long
Can actinic keratosis spread?
Actinic keratosis is not contagious, but if nearby skin has had similar environmental exposure (sun, chronic irritation), you may get another actinic keratosis nearby.
How big can actinic keratosis get?
If an actinic keratosis becomes very large, it may in fact be turning into a skin cancer in its deepest section. If an actinic keratosis is growing, it is best to see a board-certified dermatologist for evaluation. Keep in mind that actinic keratosis and seborrheic keratosis are not the same thing. Seborrheic keratoses can be larger and are benign. But on occasion, a growth that appears to be a seborrheic keratosis may in fact be a skin cancer. It is always best to have a board-certified dermatologist evaluate a suspcious growth.
Can actinic keratosis turn into cancer?
Actinic keratosis is generally considered to be a pre-cancerous lesion that may someday turn into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).