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O ne in five Americans will develop skin cancer over their lifetime. You need to be extra careful about using sunscreen when you live in warm, sunny Arizona, where people enjoy more time outdoors all year round. Dr. Vincent P. Goux at Atlas Medical Systems provides skin cancer screening and removes moles and cancerous lesions. At his offices in Chandler and Paradise Valley, Arizona, he also teaches his patients about skin cancer prevention. If you have questions or concerns about your skin, call one of his offices or book an appointment online.

What increases your risk for skin cancer?

Ultraviolet radiation from years of being out in the sun is the primary cause of skin cancer. If you haven’t used sunscreen while in the sun or a tanning bed, you have a higher risk for skin cancer. Your chance of skin cancer also increases if you have fair skin, a family history of skin cancer, or you suffered sunburns when you were younger.

What are the different types of skin cancer?

These are the different types of skin cancer and precancerous skin lesions:
Actinic keratosis
Actinic keratosis is a dry, scaly patch of skin that’s considered precancerous because it can become squamous cell carcinoma.
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common skin cancer. It often looks like a flesh-colored bump or a pink patch of skin. BCC seldom spreads through your body, but it can invade surrounding tissues, causing deep damage and disfigurement.

Why is skin cancer screening so important for your health?

Skin cancer is curable when found and removed early. Dr. Goux performs skin cancer screening. They also educate each person about how to prevent skin cancer and what to look for on your own body.
It’s especially important to watch for changes in moles. Look for an irregular border, moles with varied colors or where one half of the mole is different from the other, and moles that are larger than the size of a pencil eraser.

How is skin cancer removed?

After Dr. Goux identifies worrisome changes in your skin, the doctor will do a biopsy to determine whether it’s cancerous. If the area is small, the biopsy alone may remove all of the cancer tissue.
Both noncancerous and cancerous skin lesions can be safely removed using one of several techniques. Dr. Goux may use topical medications to eliminate actinic keratosis and basal cell carcinoma. Other moles and lesions can be cut away, scraped off using a specialized device called a curette, or frozen, which makes the lesion crust and fall off.