Cochise Oncology

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How Fast Can Skin Cancer Spread?

Skin cancer is a condition that affects 20 percent of Americans at some point in their lives. Thus, regular screenings are critical. We will discuss how fast skin cancer spreads and why annual skin cancer checks are essential.

Skin Cancer Tucson

Skin Cancer Overview

Skin cancer occurs when cells that comprise the skin begin to multiply in a dysfunctional way. 

The two most common types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Squamous cell cancers begin in the uppermost layers of the skin, while basal cell cancers usually start in the lower cells. 

Melanoma is a rarer form of skin cancer that affects the color-producing cells in the skin, called melanocytes. 

How Fast Skin Cancer Spreads

Basal and squamous skin cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body (in a process called metastization) but this process usually takes a long time.

By contrast, melanoma can grow quickly and is more likely to invade other tissues than basal or squamous skin cancer. Nodular melanomas can quickly grow downwards into the deeper layers of the skin where cancer cells then break off and travel in the blood to other parts of the body. Some patients with this condition can develop life-threatening disease within six weeks if left untreated. 

The Importance of Annual Skin Cancer Checks

Annual skin cancer screenings are an essential tool that we use at Cochise Oncology to identify potential skin cancer lesions early. These assessments can give you peace of mind and identify potential cancer candidates. 

A skin cancer screening is a physical examination performed by oncologists to determine the health of your skin. Doctors will look for large, asymmetric moles or skin imperfections that indicate possible cancer. If they discover a skin imperfection requiring closer inspection, they may take a small sample of tissue (called a biopsy) and send it to the lab for further investigation.


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.

Treatment Options for Skin Cancer

If you have skin cancer, Cochise Oncology offers a range of options to treat the disease.

For most skin cancers, surgery is the main form of treatment. These procedures involve removing cancerous tissues so that they cannot spread to other parts of the body. 

Oncologists may also recommend radiation treatment that uses intense forms of radiation (such as x-rays) to kill cancer cells. When treating skin cancer, doctors can focus the radiation on cancerous cells, leaving healthy tissue unharmed.

Some skin cancer patients may also require chemotherapy – a class of drugs designed to fight a variety of cancers. Typically, doctors use treatments like these if skin cancer cells spread to the organs or lymph nodes. 

When Should I Seek Care for Skin Cancer?

At Cochise Oncology, we believe that the best way to guard against skin cancer is to schedule annual screening appointments. This way, doctors can identify potential lesions in their early stage of development and provide treatment immediately. 


*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

Are you ready to learn more about skin cancer treatments? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 803-6644 or fill out the consultation form on this page. We look forward to meeting you!

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