Dr. Claudia N. Gaughf
Dermatologist - Savannah, Richmond Hill, Pooler
639 Stephenson Ave
Savannah, GA 31405
912-354-7124

Skin Cancer

General

  • Skin Cancer is currently the most prevalent type of cancer worldwide and appears in people of all ages
  • In the US, there are over 1 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year.
  • According to current estimates, 40 to 50% of Americans who live to age 65 will have skin cancer at least once.
  • Although anyone can get skin cancer, the risk is greater if you have fair skin, blonde or red hair, and blue or lighter-colored eyes. However, dark skin is not a guarantee against skin caner. Additional risk factors include family history, previous use of tanning devices, immuno-suppressed individuals, scarring from diseases or burns, repeated medical and industrial x-ray exposure, and occupational exposure to high-risk compounds.

Early Detection
At Chatham Skin & Cancer Center, we believe that early diagnosis and rapid treatment are the keys to effective management of skin cancers. We highly recommend every patient schedule an appointment for a complete body skin examination – Early detection is most important. Develop a regular routine to inspect your body for any skin changes. If a growth, mole, sore, or skin discoloration appears suddenly, or begins to change, you should schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist. We also recommend an annual skin examination, especially for adults with significant past sun exposure, a family history of skin cancer, or other known risk factors.

Early Detection is the Key
Melanoma Warning Signs:

  • Changes in the surface of a mole.
  • The appearance of a new mole that looks different from others. (Scaliness, Bleeding, Oozing)
  • Spread of pigment from the border of a mole into surrounding skin.
  •  Change in sensation including itchiness, tenderness, or pain.

How is Skin Cancer Treated?
Chatham Skin & Cancer Center offers state-of-the-art treatment of all forms of skin cancer. If a skin biopsy reveals cancer, we can choose from an array of the most-advanced medical and surgical treatment procedures available today depending upon the type of cancer, its location & size, and what would be most appropriate for the particular individual. These options include simple surgical excision, topical products, or other special surgical options.

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What types of skin cancers are there?
Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma are the two most common kinds of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma accounts for more than 90% percent of all skin cancers in the US. It is a slow-growing cancer that seldom spreads to other parts of the body. Squamous cell carcinoma also rarely spreads, but it does so more often than basal cell carcinoma. However, it is important that skin cancers be found and treated early because they can invade and destroy nearby tissue. When detected and treated early, the cure rate for both Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma approaches 95 percent.

Melanoma is another form of skin cancer - Malignant melanoma is the most deadly of all skin cancers. Each year, more than 8,000 Americans will die from melanoma; it is projected that more than 100,000 Americans will develop melanoma annually.

Melanoma may appear suddenly or begin in or near a mole, or another dark spot in the skin. It is important to know the location and appearance of the moles on the body to detect changes early. Since melanoma cells can continue to produce melanin, this skin cancer often appears in mixed shades of tan, brown, and black; although, it can also be red or white.

Any changing mole must be examined by a dermatologist.  Melanoma is curable when removed in an early stage.  Melanoma readily metastasizes, making early detection and treatment essential to increase survival rates.

Excessive sun exposure is the most important preventable risk factor for melanoma. Fair-skinned individuals are usually at a higher risk, but family history also plays an important role. Dark skin is not a guarantee against melanoma. People with skin of color can develop melanoma, especially on the palms, soles, under the nails, in the mouth, or on the genitalia.