Skin Cancer

At Albany Medical Center, we have a multidisciplinary team consisting of surgical oncologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists and oncologists who are experts in diagnosing as well as determining the most appropriate procedure for treating patients with skin cancer.

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. Though we are all at risk for skin cancer, you are at greater risk if you are fair-skinned, have a family history of skin cancer or spend a lot of time outdoors. Risk also increases with age.

Forms of skin cancer fall into two categories: non-melanoma and melanoma.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common form of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common forms of non-melanoma skin cancers, accounting for about 96 percent of all new cases of skin cancer.

Melanoma is less common, but is a more aggressive type of skin cancer. Melanoma originates in skin cells that produce pigment or melanin.

There are three major types of skin cancer:

  1. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) – This is a form of non-melanoma skin cancer and is the least dangerous form. It grows slowly and rarely spreads.

  2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) – This form is a non-melanoma type of skin cancer but is more likely to spread and become life-threatening if not treated.

  3. Malignant Melanoma – Melanoma commonly spreads and can be deadly. A new mole or a change in existing mole can be a warning sign for melanoma.

Early diagnosis is important for long-term health. Pay close attention to your skin and existing moles, sores that are taking a long time to heal, new lumps or changes in color or texture. You may save your life.

Quick facts about skin cancer treatment:

  1. Treatment of skin cancer, much like any form of cancer, may require surgery to remove cancerous growths.

  2. Your plastic surgeon can surgically remove cancerous and other skin lesions using specialized techniques to preserve your health and appearance.

  3. Although no surgery is without scars, your plastic surgeon will make every effort to treat your skin cancer without dramatically changing your appearance.

  4. For some people, reconstruction may require more than one procedure to achieve the best results.

Depending on the size and depth of the skin cancer, your doctor may able to remove the spot in the office using only local anesthesia. In some cases, more extensive surgery and chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be necessary.

Reconstructive surgery for the treatment of skin cancer may effectively cure a person with cancer. Additional surgeries may be needed to reduce scarring and restore the skin’s natural appearance, but your Albany Medical Center plastic surgeon will make every effort to treat your skin cancer without dramatically changing your appearance.