Melanoma and skin cancer
If you have melanoma or another type of skin cancer, you’re not alone. Millions of people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, making it far more common than all other types of cancer.
Even though skin cancer is so prevalent—and easily treated when caught early—it still needs to be taken seriously. Like any type of cancer, skin cancer may spread to your lymph nodes or other parts of your body if it is not treated quickly.
At The Christ Hospital Health Network, we’ll help you conquer skin cancer and move on with you life. Our cancer care team has experience managing all forms of skin cancer, including stubborn cases that come back after treatment (recurrent skin cancer).
We collaborate with each other and with you, selecting treatments that will get rid of your cancer with the least amount of scarring and other side effects.
About melanoma and skin cancer
Did you know your skin is your body’s largest organ? It’s a protective barrier that helps keep your other organs safe inside, while keeping germs, water and other substances out. And it helps keep your body cool or warm, depending on the temperature around you.
Your skin consists of several layers of tissue and fat. The top layer, called the epidermis, is the part of your skin you can see. Within the epidermis are three kinds of cells that play important roles:
Basal cells create new skin cells (because your body constantly sheds them).
Melanocytes produce melanin, a substance (pigment) that gives your skin its unique color. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, these cells increase melanin production—resulting in what we think of as a suntan.
Squamous cells serve as your skin’s inner lining.
When cancer develops in one of these three types of skin cells, it may be broadly referred to as “skin cancer.” There are three main types of skin cancer, each named for the cells it grows in:
Basal cell carcinoma —the most common type of skin cancer, it usually occurs on the parts of your body that receive the most sun exposure (such as the face or neck). Basal cell carcinoma may look like a shiny, pearly bump. It can also show up as a flesh-colored or brown patch that resembles a scar.
Melanoma —a type of skin cancer that can develop anywhere on the body, among people of all skin tones. It may appear on skin that is not normally exposed to the sun, such as the soles of your feet, underneath your fingernails or in your genital area. And it can grow in an existing mole, causing that mole to become cancerous. Melanoma may look like a large, speckled brown spot, or it can show up as a colored spot (blackish-blue, white or red) with irregular borders.
Squamous cell carcinoma —another type of skin cancer that usually occurs on the parts of your body with the most sun exposure. It may look like a red lump, or a flat spot with a crusty surface.
Even though people can develop skin cancer on areas of their body that don’t often see the sun, it is usually linked to sun exposure. Our skin is sensitive to the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation found in sunlight. Most of us have learned the hard way that when we fail to protect our skin from the sun, we end up with a sunburn. Over time, repeated skin damage can lead to skin cancer.
But thanks to screening exams we offer, melanoma and other skin cancers can be detected early—and treated successfully.
Why choose The Christ Hospital Health Network
If you have melanoma or another type of skin cancer, you deserve exceptional care—including top doctors, the newest treatments and the latest research.
You should also expect compassionate care, from cancer specialists who acknowledge your concerns, take time to answer your questions and provide reassurance about your course of treatment.
At The Christ Hospital Health Network, we offer an outstanding experience that meets all your needs.
Our support services are an important part of any treatment plan. Whether you’re having trouble coping with your diagnosis, or want to talk to a financial counselor. we’ll make sure you get the support you need.
Our integrative medicine services can add a holistic touch to your treatment journey. You can take advantage of our Tai Chi classes, chair yoga, music therapy, pet therapy and more.
We also partner with local organizations such as Melanoma Know More to offer free skin cancer screenings to people in the community.