Valencia Thomas, M.D., shares a lighter moment with one of her patients. Dr. Thomas is one of several board-certified dermatologists who treat skin cancers at MD Anderson's Mohs and Dermasurgery Center.
At MD Anderson's Ben Love/El Paso Corporation Melanoma and Skin Center, your treatment for skin cancer is personalized to provide the most advanced therapies with the least impact on your body.
Our skin cancer program is one of the largest in the nation. This gives us a level of experience and expertise found in few other centers.
Renowned experts work together to customize your care. Beginning with the most accurate diagnosis possible, we offer comprehensive, yet specialized, care for every type of skin cancer.
And we're constantly researching newer, safer, more effective ways to prevent, diagnose and treat skin cancer. This translates into a range of clinical trials for patients with skin cancer.
Skin cancer symptoms vary from person to person. They may include a:
If you notice one or more of them for more than two weeks, see your doctor.
A biopsy of the suspicious lesion is the only way to find out for sure if you have skin cancer. Your doctor will remove a small amount of tissue from the area. The sample then is looked at under a microscope. This also helps your doctor plan the best treatment for you.
Sun damage is the main risk factor for skin cancer. Artificial sunlight from tanning beds causes the same risk for skin cancer as natural sunlight. There is no such thing as a safe tan.
Age: The longer you are exposed to the sun over time, the higher your risk of developing skin cancer. Fair complexion, blond or red hair, freckles, blue eyes and/or a tendency to sunburn Previous skin cancer Living in a sunny climate Working around coal tar, arsenic compounds, creosote, pitch and paraffin oil Previous skin injuries, such as a major scar or burn Actinic keratosis, a precancerous condition of thick, scaly patches of skin Not everyone with risk factors gets skin cancer. However, if you have risk factors, it's a good idea to discuss them with your health care provider.