Cochise Oncology

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How Do You Know if You Have Skin Cancer?

Almost all of us have odd spots or marks on our skin, and most cause no harm. However, some unusual spots can be a sign of skin cancer. When caught early, skin cancer responds well to treatment. Regular skin cancer screenings will make sure no potential problems go unnoticed. 

What is Skin Cancer? 

Skin cancer occurs when cells in different layers of the skin begin to divide abnormally. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas grow slowly and rarely invade other tissues but can cause problems. Melanoma, a cancer of the skin cells that make pigments, is the most potentially dangerous type. If caught early, all skin cancers are 99% treatable.

Skin Cancer Tucson

How Do You Know if You Have Skin Cancer?

You might start to have concerns about skin cancer if you notice a spot or blemish on your body that has changed or grown. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas often look like scaly, oddly colored bumps or open sores. Melanoma has some distinct factors that you can check for:

  • A for asymmetry – is your mole uneven?
  • B for borders – does the mole have irregular or poorly defined edges?
  • C for color – does your mole contain several colors, or has it changed color?
  • D for diameter – is your mole bigger than about 6mm?
  • E for evolving – is your mole changing or growing?

If your doctors find a spot that causes concern, they will perform a biopsy. This procedure takes a sample of the spot and sends it to a lab for analysis. The pathologist will determine whether any skin cancer cells are present. Only a lab diagnosis can determine for sure whether you have skin cancer. 


Simply fill out the form on this page to request an appointment and one of our knowledgable team members will reach out to you. Or call our Sierra Vista oncology center to schedule directly at (520) 803-6644.

How is Skin Cancer Treated?

Your skin cancer treatment will depend on your skin cancer type and how deeply it penetrates into the skin. Treatment methods include:

  • Cryotherapy to freeze and kill cancer cells
  • Topical chemotherapy applied to the area
  • Excision or surgical removal of cancer and surrounding skin
  • Radiation therapy

Most basal and squamous cell carcinomas are easy to remove and respond well to topical treatments. Melanoma must be excised (surgically removed) to ensure any unhealthy cells have been removed. Most cancers respond quickly to treatment when caught in a routine skin screening. 

Can I Prevent Skin Cancer?

You cannot entirely prevent skin cancer, but you can take steps to protect yourself. Wearing sunscreen and avoiding sun exposure can prevent many skin cancers. Many cases of skin cancer appear on the head, neck, arms, and other areas of frequent sun exposure. However, it can occur anywhere on the body. 


*Individual Results May Vary


At Cochise Oncology, we know optimal cancer treatment places the patient first – and our patients experience this every day. Read what our satisfied patients are saying about their experiences at Cochise Oncology.

Take the Next Step

Do you have questions about skin cancer? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 803-6644 or fill out the consultation form on this page.

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