Skin cancer can affect any area of skin on your body, including your facial features, so if you notice any changes to your skin it’s a sensible precaution to get them checked out. For specialist diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer on your head and neck, consult experienced otolaryngologist Dr. Robert A. Ehrhard, MD, of Jasper, Indiana, who excels in caring for patients with cancers of the nose, lips, and ears. Call Dr. Ehrhard’s office or schedule an appointment online today.
Skin cancer is a common type of cancer that results when skin cells grow abnormally. There are three forms of skin cancer that occur most frequently:
Affects the outermost surface of your skin, called the basal layer cells. It’s most often found on the face and neck, and usually observed as a pearly or waxy bump on your skin, or a flat lesion that can be brown or flesh-colored.
Affects your skin cells below the surface, underneath the basal layer, and is more liable to spread to other parts of your body than basal cell carcinoma. It’s commonly found on the face, ears, and hands, and usually observed as a red nodule or scaly or crusty lesion. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most commonly seen cancer on the ear.
Affects the melanocyte cells that give skin its brown color. Melanomas may develop on any area of your skin, and frequently affect the face, with 1% of cases occurring on the ear. They may appear as a change to an existing mole; a brown, speckled spot; or an irregular, discolored lesion. Melanoma is less common than basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma, and is the most serious type of skin cancer.
The most common cause of skin cancer is overexposure to the sun, but smoking also increases your risk of developing skin cancer, particularly on your lips.
Depending on the location of the suspected carcinoma, there are several diagnostic methods Dr. Ehrhard can turn to. He starts by examining your head and neck and looking at any lesions you have on your skin.
In most cases, samples of cells from the lesion are sent to the laboratory for examination, where a pathologist performs tests to determine whether there are any cancerous cells present and what type they are.
Dr. Ehrhard may use CT, MRI, or PET imaging techniques to examine the interior of your nose or ears.
He may also perform an endoscopy, passing a thin, lighted tube into the orifice and viewing the pictures sent back by the miniature camera at the tip of the endoscope. He can collect cells from inside your nose or ear for lab testing as well.
The treatment Dr. Ehrhard recommends depends on the location and type of your cancer. Options include:
Dr. Ehrhard is an experienced otolaryngologist who specializes in caring for patients affected by skin cancer, so for prompt and accurate diagnosis and effective treatment, call his office or schedule an appointment online today.