Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, affecting about one in five adults in the United States at some point. While being diagnosed with this disease can feel scary, it’s often very treatable.
At the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Dr. Hendi and our team of skin cancer experts specialize in the latest techniques for detecting and treating all types of skin cancer. In this blog, we shed some light on what you can expect after a diagnosis.
Types of skin cancer
There are many types of skin cancer, including:
- Basal cell carcinoma, which starts in the deepest layer of the skin
- Squamous cell carcinoma, which starts in the top layer of the skin
- Melanoma, which starts from color-producing cells known as melanocytes
While basal cell and squamous cell cancers are the most common types, melanoma is the most serious.
The potential outcomes of a skin cancer diagnosis
Skin cancers are very treatable, especially if they’re detected early. Even melanoma, the most deadly form, has a five-year survival rate of 99% when it’s diagnosed early on.
If your melanoma has spread and worsened, that number may drop to 68% if it reaches your lymph nodes or 30% if it reaches distant organs. At that point, more intense treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy can help.
Regardless of your cancer’s stage, however, it’s important to know that treatments are available. And the sooner you get the care you need, the better. Working with our expert team is one way to ensure quality care, which can increase your chances of having a positive outcome.
Treating skin cancer
Your treatment for skin cancer will be based on the type you have, its location and severity, and your overall health.
If you’ve been diagnosed with basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma or hold a high risk of the cancer returning, we may recommend Mohs surgery, which holds a 99% cure rate. The Mohs procedure is also used to accurately remove melanoma. The experts at Ali Hendi, MD, PC have the distinction of being the only practice in Washington DC with the experience and expertise to treat melanoma using the Mohs technique, which has been shown to offer higher cure rates than standard excision. In fact Dr. Hendi has published some of the original research that was instrumental in advancing the treatment of melanoma with the Mohs technique.
This precise surgery is performed under local anesthesia, and your provider removes the cancerous tissue layer by layer until all the cancer is gone. The tissue is then processed in an on-site laboratory and slides are prepared for Dr. Hendi to examine under the microscope to determine if the margins are clear. The process takes 1-2 hours (longer for melanoma), leaves as much healthy tissue as possible, and offers the highest cure rates for skin cancers.
Other skin cancer treatments we may recommend include:
- Curettage and desiccation
- Freezing, also known as cryotherapy
- Topical medication (for very superficial cancers)
We provide all of these treatments onsite, where we have an accredited surgical facility.
Once you’ve completed your treatment, we’ll likely recommend ongoing skin cancer surveillance to help ensure that any additional signs are addressed as soon as possible.
To learn more about skin cancer or to get the compassionate care you need, call 301-812-4591 or book an appointment online with the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, today.