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One out of five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. Central Oregon has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the country. When detected early, skin cancer is highly treatable. For this reason, Derm Health providers offer a full skin exam to all patients and offer personalized preventative treatments. Dr. Oliver Wisco and Jill Conway have advanced training and decades of experience in identifying and treating skin cancer. Regular full skin exams completed by a trained professional are the best way to ensure early detection.

Types of Skin Cancer

Basal cell carcinomas (BCC) are the most common type of skin cancer and are typically pink and slightly shiny or scar-like in texture.

Squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) are the next most common skin cancer and are usually pink, scaly or crusted lesions that bleed easily. Actinic keratoses (AKs) are precursors to squamous cell carcinomas and generally develop over a long period of time. Early AKs can be rough or have a sandpaper texture. AKs often indicate that an individual has had sun damage that warrants regular skin exams for early detection of skin cancers.

Melanoma is less common than BCC and SCC, however, it is the most responsible for skin-cancer related deaths and early detection and treatment is imperative. Melanomas are usually brown, black, grey or blue spots that can have an asymmetric shape, irregular border, uneven color, or large diameter. Approximately one third of melanomas arise from pre-existing moles, making it essential to monitor moles for changes.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, but it is also one of the most preventable. The biggest factor of skin cancer risk is sun exposure. Sun protection, including wearing sun protective clothing, wide brimmed hats and daily use of a sunscreen (SPF 45 or greater) has been shown to significantly reduce risks of skin cancer. Early detection is key to treatability and full recovery.

Skin Cancer Treatment

Skin cancer removal options include surgical excision, electrodessication and curettage (a scrape-and-burn technique), topical medications or a specialized surgical procedure called Mohs surgery. Derm Health skin cancer specialists will recommend a treatment based on the type and location of the skin cancer, the age of the patient, the patient’s living situation and home support, comorbidities, and the symptoms or impacts of the skin cancer. While Mohs surgery and excisions are highly effective, they are not always the solution for every patient and our team at Derm Health works with our patients to determine the best personalized approach.