Skin Cancer

skin cancer

Stop Skin Cancer in its Tracks

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. More than 3.5 million cases of non-melanoma are diagnosed in the United States each year. Of these, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are highly treatable. Skin cancer occurs when abnormal, malignant cells form in tissues of the skin. It can occur anywhere on the body, but it's most common in places that have been exposed to more sunlight, such as the face, neck, hands, and arms. There are three main types of skin cancer:

Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, and it forms in basal cells (small, round cells in the base of the outer layer of skin). It almost never spreads (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Individuals with fair skin and who are older have higher rates of basal cell carcinoma.

Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is skin cancer that forms in squamous cells (flat cells that form on the surface of the skin). It is mainly caused by sun exposure, but it can appear on skin that has been burned, damaged by chemicals or excessively exposed to x-rays.

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer skin cancer, and it forms in melanocytes (skin cells that make pigment), and it’s Melanoma can spread (metastasize) quickly to other parts of the body through the lymph system or through the blood.

Personalized skin cancer treatment

The Penn Medicine | Virtua Cancer Program offers a range of diagnostic procedures, advanced treatment options and personalized support services for those diagnosed with skin cancer. Patients receive an individualized treatment plan which includes these options:

  • Curettage and electrodesiccation: The cancer is removed with a sharp, spoon-shaped instrument called a curettage. An electric current is used to control bleeding and kill any cancer cells remaining around the edge of the wound.
  • Mohs surgery: The area is shaved one thin layer at a time. Each layer is checked under a microscope until only healthy tissue is visible on the shavings.
  • Cryosurgery: Abnormal cells are frozen and killed.
  • Other treatments: In addition, we offer surgery, laser therapy, topical or systemic chemotherapy, biological therapy (or immunotherapy), radiation oncology, and national and regional clinical trials.

HDR skin brachytherapy available through Penn Medicine | Virtua Cancer Program

Virtua is offering a new, non-invasive treatment option for non-melanoma skin cancers. HDR skin brachytherapy is targeted, high-dose radiation used for specific types of skin cancers. This highly targeted treatment spares damage to surrounding healthy tissue and provides excellent cancer control and cosmetic results.

This outpatient treatment is painless, has minimal side effects and only takes few weeks to complete.

If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, please ask your dermatologist if you’re a candidate for HDR skin brachytherapy.

For more information about Virtua’s skin cancer services,
call 1-888-VIRTUA-3 (1-888-847-8823).

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