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Skin Cancer

Gould-Jacobson Dermatology

Dermatologists located in Menlo Park, CA

As expert board-certified dermatologists, Elizabeth Gould, MD and Sarah Jacobson, MD of Gould-Jacobson Dermatology offer thorough skin checks to detect skin cancer early on. If you notice an abnormal mole or other sign of skin cancer, they can biopsy and surgically remove the cancer cells from the comfort of their state-of-the-art Menlo Park, California clinic. Because an estimated one in five Americans will develop skin cancer and it’s often entirely treatable when caught early, regular skin checks are critical. Book your appointment online or call the practice today.

Skin Cancer Q & A

Who is at risk for skin cancer?

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells that usually develop on areas that are exposed to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. If you are regularly exposed to the sun or frequently use tanning beds, your risk of developing skin cancer goes up. You may also have a higher risk of skin cancer due to:

  • Fair skin
  • A weakened immune system
  • A personal or family history of skin cancer
  • Exposure to radiation or certain chemicals, like arsenic

While having regular moles doesn’t necessarily increase your risk of skin cancer, having abnormal moles can. Moles that are large or irregularly shaped are more likely to become cancerous.

What are the symptoms of skin cancer?

There are three major forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Each has its own unique set of symptoms.

With basal cell carcinoma, you’re likely to develop a pearly or waxy bump, or a flat, brownish or flesh-colored lesion. Squamous cell carcinoma, which usually develops on sun-exposed areas, leaves you with a firm, red lesion that could become scaly or crusty. Both Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas can also present as a lesion that bleeds or will not heal normally.

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer that can develop in an existing mole or present as a new mole that changes shape or gets darker. Some cancerous moles become itchy or even bleed. With melanoma, you could also experience:

  • Large brown spots with dark speckles
  • Small lesions with irregular borders
  • Dark lesions on your palms or soles

Any time you notice skin discoloration, skin nodules, or changes in moles, it’s time to have a skin check.

How is skin cancer treated?

Dr. Gould and Dr. Jacobson develop your custom skin cancer treatment plan based on the severity of your condition. If they notice an abnormal mole or patch of skin during a skin check, they biopsy the suspicious tissue on the spot and send it off to the lab. If the tissue is cancerous, your treatment plan could include:

  • Excisional surgery to remove cancerous tissue
  • Referral for Mohs surgery
  • Electrodessication and Curettage (ED&C)
  • Topical immunomodulators
  • Referal for radiation
  • Referral to other local experts in treatment of advanced skin cancers, coordinated by your doctor at GJD

If your skin cancer spreads to surrounding tissues or lymph nodes, you may need additional treatment, including radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

If you have an abnormal mole or have a history of skin cancer, schedule a skin check at Gould-Jacobson Dermatology — call or book online today.