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Birmingham, Alabama Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

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Skin Cancer

Dr. Gene Moor has vast experience in the diagnosis and treatment of  skin cancer. Skin cancer treatment usually requires surgery to remove the growth. There are three primary types of skin cancers: Basal Cell, Squamous Cell and Melanoma. The individual treatment and follow-up care may be very different.  At your consultation Dr. Moor will discuss your treatment options, surgical and non-surgical and recommend a treatment and follow-up plan. Any surgical procedure will result in a scar. Dr. Moor is well experienced in the maximum camouflage of his scars, and rearranging skin to cover the excised lesion without dramatically changing your appearance. Patients are referred to Dr. Moor because the excision and reconstruction can be quite involved, complicated and requires more than one reconstructive procedure.

The visible size of the skin lesion can be deceiving. What is visible on the skin surface, often only represents a small portion of the entire skin cancer. Beneath the skin surface the cancer cells can cover a much larger area with no discernible borders. In these cases specialized techniques, Moh's and frozen sections are utilized to preserve as much skin as possible. The skin cancer is removed and microscopically examined by the pathologist before closure to insure that all cancer cells are removed. If we don't have “clear margins”  Dr. Moor will continue meticulously removing more tissue, until cancer-free margins are obtained. Immediately after the clear margins are achieved the wound is not left open to “heal on its own” but Dr. Moor starts the reconstructive process and closes the wound. The reconstruction may be a direct closure, a local flap, or a skin graft. We try to place the suture line in the natural creases and curves of the face trying to minimize the appearance of the scar.  At your consultation Dr. Moor will discuss with you the different treatment options that you have. With certain pre-cancerous lesions he may suggest treatment with an ointment. Dr. Moor always takes into consideration your general health, the risks of surgery and potential complications. He may suggest radiation therapy as the primary mode of treatment. Not all skin cancers act the same and additional post-operative treatment and close follow-up care may be necessary. (Melanoma is a very dangerous skin cancer and should be followed rigorously.) It is entirely possible that the factors that were in place and caused your skin cancer in the first place, will generate new skin cancers in the same region. Early detection is the key to curing skin cancer. It is important that you perform self-examinations, schedule annual skin cancer screening and practice good sun protection. Once you have a skin cancer you are at a higher risk of developing more skin cancers and keep in mind that skin cancers can recur. For a more comprehensive consultation on skin cancer treatment contact Dr. Gene Moor at ALABAMA PLASTIC SURGERY, in Mountain Brook, Alabama 205-871-2002.

The primary cause of skin cancer  is the over exposure to sun light, especially when a history of sunburn and blistering is present. Most skin cancers develop and are the result of a cumulative effect of over 20 years of sun exposure. Avoidance of the sun and sunscreen are the best ways to prevent skin cancer.

The American Cancer Society suggests that everyone should use a sunscreen daily, year round in any weather. It should be applied one half hour before going outside giving the skin tim etc absorb it.  Sunscreen  should be reapplied every two hours. It is important that the sunscreen includes broad spectrum protection (UVA and UVB) and is SPF 30 or above. AN SPF 30 protects against 97% UVB and SPF 50 protects 98%.  There are other physical, environmental and genetic factors that contribute to skin cancer. New research indicates that adequate blood levels of Vitamin D offer protection agains skin cancer and that conversely, low levels of Vitamin D increase the chances of getting skin cancer. Patients with Melanoma who have low levels of Vitamin D are thought to have poorer outcomes.

Once the lesion, or mole has fully developed it normally remains of the same shape and color for many years. Beware of the lesion that has a sudden or continuous change in size color shape, or is itching or bleeds.  This lesion needs to be evaluated.   

The main skin cancer types are Basal Cell carcinoma,  Squamous Cell carcinoma and Malignant Melanoma. 

Basal Cell carcinoma of the skin appears as a small, fleshy bump or nodule on the head, neck or hands and the lesions may appear flatter on the trunk. People with Basal Cell lesions frequently have light hair, light color eyes and a  light complexion. These tumors do not spread quickly. In fact, they may take years to reach 1/2 inch in diameter.  


                                                                                                         

Squamous Cell carcinoma may appear as nodular or red scaly patches found on the rim of the ear, the face, the nose, the lips, mouth or hands. The cure rate of both Basal Cell and Squamous Cell is over 95% when properly treated early.

                                                                                                           

Malignant Melanoma is the most virulent of the skin cancers. Yearly 70,000 new cases are diagnosed with an 87% cure if the cancer is detected early. Younger  patients will have an even  more virulent Melanoma. Melanoma  is described as a pigmented, (ABCD rule) asymmetrical lesion with an irregular border. the color is not uniform with shades of tan, brown, black with a reddish, blue-white tint and about the size of an eraser head, greater than 6mm. Dr. Moor has extensive experience with Melanoma and he will discuss your treatment option.

                                                                                                           

Early detection is the key to curing skin cancer. self examination is a must. any lesion that has changed in size, color or appear should be evaluated. Dr. Moor will be happy to evaluate any suspicious lesion(s) you may have. For a more comprehensive consultation on skin cancer treatment contact Dr. Gene Moor at ALABAMA PLASTIC SURGERY, in Mountain Brook, Alabama 205-871-2002.