Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, occurring from the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. With early diagnosis and treatment, most skin cancers can be cured.
One of the biggest causes of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and tanning beds. Excess sun exposure damages skin cells to the point that they start to grow out of control.
Receive expert testing and treatment for skin cancer in Stockton and the surrounding areas at St. Joseph's Cancer Institute. Start your journey to better health by using our Find a Doctor tool to schedule a consultation.
Recognizing Skin Cancer Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of skin cancer vary but can include a change in the color or appearance of your skin. For example, it may appear as an abnormally colored or unusually shaped mole.
These are the types of skin cancer:
- Melanoma typically shows up on men’s backs and women’s lower legs, but it can develop anywhere. It appears as a new spot, such as a mole, or it can be an existing mole that gets bigger or changes shape or color. If untreated, melanoma can be deadly.
- Squamous cell carcinoma often appears on the ears, lips, or other places that get a lot of sun. It usually looks like a red, scaly spot that won’t heal. Squamous cell carcinoma is more common than melanoma, but not as dangerous.
- Basal cell carcinoma often shows up on the face, usually on the ears or nose, but may occur anywhere. It looks like a red or pale lump or scaly spot. Basal cell carcinoma is the most frequently diagnosed skin cancer, but grows slowly and is much less dangerous than other types.
- Merkel cell carcinoma can begin anywhere, but it typically shows up on areas that are frequently exposed to the sun. It looks like a firm lump, usually pink, red, or purple, and can develop into an open sore. Although dangerous, merkel cell carcinoma is far less common than other types.
If you notice changes in existing moles or anywhere else on your skin, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Treatment & Prevention of Skin Cancer in the Stockton Region
There are many options for you treat and prevent skin cancer. Skin cancer prevention starts with wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays.
Treatment strategies offered at Dignity Health depend on the type of skin cancer. They include:
- Treatment or removal of precancerous skin lesions
- Surgery to physically remove the skin cancer
- Targeted therapy to destroy certain cancer cells or inhibit their ability to grow
- Chemotherapy or radiotherapy to kill rapidly growing cancer cells
- Thermotherapy using heat to kill the cancer cells
- Immunotherapy to improve the body’s natural ability to fight off cancer cells
You can trust our oncology team, consisting of surgeons, doctors, and specially trained nurse navigators, for a full spectrum of cancer care.
St. Joseph's Cancer Institute offers the latest treatment options for skin cancer in the Stockton region.