About Skin Cancer Screenings
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that 20% of Americans will get skin cancer. The high incidence of skin cancer means that routine skin exams are very important, particularly when you've got a family or personal history of skin cancer. Detecting skin cancer early on is vital; you will have many more treatment options, and the prospects for positive outcomes are higher. Tracy Evans, M.D. offers complete skin cancer exams, as well as biopsies of abnormal growths and many innovative skin cancer procedures. As part of her medical training, she spent two years exclusively studying skin cancer and is certified by the American College of Mohs Micrographic Surgery. As a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon, she is passionate about the prevention and treatment of skin cancer. To schedule a skin cancer exam with Dr. Evans, contact Pacific Skin Corte Madera.
Types of Skin Cancer
Dr. Evans searches for four kinds of skin cancer in a skin cancer exam:
- Actinic Keratoses (AK): This sort will typically form at 40 years of age or older on regions of the skin that have been consistently exposed to sunlight — like the head, throat, hands, and arms. AKs look like scaly, dry areas and are generally deemed precancerous since they have the capability to become squamous cell carcinoma.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): The most common kind of cancer, BCC can develop anywhere on your skin and might look like a pink spot or as a pearl-sized, flesh-colored lump. BCC must be treated because it has the potential to develop into the bones and nerves, resulting in disfigurement and damage.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): SCC is the second most common type of skin cancer. It develops on the areas of skin that get the most UV exposure and looks like scaly spots; firm, red lumps; and/or sores that never quite heal. SCCs need to be eliminated to avoid disfigurement and damage.
- Melanoma: This sort of cancer appears abruptly as a dark area on the skin. Dr. Evans uses the ABCDE list to identify melanoma — Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, Evolving. Based on information from the Skin Cancer Foundation, just 1% of skin cancer is a melanoma, but melanoma causes the most skin cancer deaths. This is why melanoma needs to be treated quickly once it's diagnosed.
"I went in to have a basal spot on my back removed. I’ve been a patient of Dr. Evans for years. She’s the best. I’ve never had a bad experience with her or anyone that works for her. She’s an excellent doctor and I trust her judgment/diagnoses completely. I particularly appreciated the way the procedure was handled. Everything is thoroughly explained and as they’re ‘working’ they tell you exactly what they’re about to do so there are no surprises. I highly recommend Dr. Evans (and in fact have recommended her to many of my friends). Having basal cells removed (I think the procedure is called Mose) is not a pleasant experience but Dr. Evans and her staff make it as pleasant and painless as possible"- A.D. / Google / May 30, 2019
"Dr Evan's has been treating my various dermatological issues for several years. Every visit is met with professionalism and complete confidence with what I present. When I needed further diagnosis she was quick to refer me to a specialist. Dr Evans has made herself available on a few occasions after hours to discuss my emergent needs."- Anonymous / Healthgrades / May 28, 2019
"DR Evans is thorough, very well educated and has an excellent staff in her well appointed office."- V.K. / Facebook / May 09, 2019
"I LOOOVE Dr. Evans and her whole team! Incredible customer service and great results for cool sculpting on my husband and fraxel on me! My skin is completely transformed and my husband was able to eliminate some fat pockets that no amount of exercise could touch! This is a top notch medical team with fabulous cosmetic services as well as the highest quality dermatology! I want to particularly thank Shantelle for being such a rock star! I'll be coming back for more and referring all my friends!"- E.M. / Yelp / Apr 30, 2019
"I love the quiet, spa-like atmosphere of Dr Evans' Corte Madera office. She and her staff offer a diverse array of treatments as well as complete dermatological care. Recently, I tried cool sculpting with Shantelle and was so pleased with the results. Shantelle is a skilled practitioner and very reassuring. I can't say enough good things about this office."- M.K. / Yelp / Apr 09, 2019
Women and men of all ages can develop skin cancer. While those with lighter complexions are at higher risk, all skin types and tones are vulnerable to some degree. Dr. Evans recommends that everyone should do routine self-checks of their skin with the ABCDE list so that they know what's there and if anything changes. You should schedule a skin cancer screening whenever you're worried that an area on your skin has changed, bleeds, itches, or is sore. If you or a close relative has or had skin cancer, you are at higher risk and should schedule yearly skin checks.
At your skin cancer screening appointment, Dr. Evans will examine your entire body for moles, birthmarks, and any other abnormal growths. She might make a map of your spots to indicate regions of concern and also to readily identify new growths at future appointments. Dr. Evans will explain to you how you can perform self-exams between visits.
If Dr. Evans finds any suspicious or concerning spots, she might perform a biopsy. She will numb the region and then remove a tiny sample. The sample will be mailed to a pathology laboratory for evaluation. After Dr. Evans gets the pathology report, you'll be contacted to hear the results.
What to Expect
Following your examination, Dr. Evans will speak with you about your skin and make recommendations. She will also tell you when you need to come back for your next skin exam.
Should you require a biopsy of a strange spot, there's a possibility of scarring. However, Dr. Evans is very experienced and will do her best to minimize the incision and remove the thinnest skin sample. She will also tell you the best method for taking care of your skin following the biopsy to help your skin heal properly. With good maintenance, the incision should fade so that it's hardly visible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I identify the ABCDEs of skin cancer?
The ABCDEs of skin cancer include Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, Evolving. Cancerous moles may appear in an irregular shape in which one side does not match the other. They may also have jagged or blurred borders, as well as non-uniform coloring, with different shades of black, brown, or tan. They are often more than six millimeters in diameter, and they can evolve, meaning the size, shape, and color can all change.
When should I receive a skin cancer screening?
Dr. Evans is a dermatologist and skin cancer specialist. She recommends that patients receive skin cancer screenings annually or bi-annually. It is also important to get a screening if you notice any changes, itching, or bleeding of lesions or moles. The early detection of skin cancer is key to successful treatment so it is crucial that you seek proper care at the first sign of irregularity. If you are concerned or have any suspicion that a mole or lesion might be cancerous, the best course of action is to schedule a screening.
When is a biopsy necessary?
During the first step of a skin cancer screening, we will closely review any part of the skin that appears abnormal. If we observe anything that might be cancerous, then a biopsy can be taken. The biopsy is the step that confirms or denies whether cancer exists. Very few cancers are definitively diagnosed by simply looking at it.
If skin cancer is identified, what is the next step in treatment?
Cancer screenings and biopsies are the first steps to finding skin cancer early. If found, removal of all cancer cells is your best bet to reduce the chance of the cancer spreading. Our practice works with patients on screenings, biopsies, diagnoses, and treatments. We can provide several topical treatments, laser removals, and surgical removals. Dr. Evans is a certified Mohs surgeon who is skilled and experienced in removing most types of skin cancer.
Early Detection is the Key
The two most important factors in successfully combating skin cancer are knowing your risk level and ensuring early detection. If you're due to get a yearly skin exam, schedule an appointment with Dr. Evans at Pacific Skin Corte Madera. She is passionate about educating her patients on the importance of yearly exams and has years of specialized experience in diagnosing and treating skin cancer.