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The face and eyelids are very common locations for skin cancer. Many times skin cancers may appear as benign growths. Other times they can develop cancerous characteristics over a relatively short time. Potential warning signs are new growths with elevated, irregular boarders, coloration, indentation, or ulceration. If skin cancer forms along the edge of the eyelid it often causes the eyelashes to fall out.
Dr. Lin Yang follows a methodical order to address these suspicious lesions. The area of concern is first biopsied to determine if it is in fact a cancer. If the biopsy is not cancerous, no further treatment is required. If the biopsy is cancerous, most cancers are then removed using the MOHS technique because this method has the highest cure rate and preserves the most normal tissue around the eyelids and face.
The major added value of Dr. Lin Yang begins after the cancer is removed. It is paramount that his patients not only obtain cure of the cancer but also achieve the best possible post reconstruction function and facial appearance. Dr. Lin Yang has extensive experience in performing both reconstructive and aesthetic surgery and each comes into play in reconstructing the defect left by tumor removal in a way that maximizes facial appearances.
Frequently asked questions about skin cancer
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer followed by squamous cell carcinoma. Melanoma is less frequent but it is more likely to metastasize, so diagnosing melanoma early is important.
1. What is the most common type of skin cancer?
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer followed by squamous cell carcinoma. Melanoma is less frequent but it is more likely to metastasize, so diagnosing melanoma early is important
2. What causes skin cancer?
Risk factors we are born with include: fair complexion, light colored eyes, blond or red hair, tendency to burn instead of tan, family history of skin cancer, and a weakened immune system. People who have had a prior skin cancer are much more likely to form another. The number one modifiable risk factor for skin cancer is sun exposure.
3. How does sun exposure contribute to skin cancer?
Ultraviolet light damages the skin cells and causes them to become cancerous.
4. Is all ultraviolet light bad?
Yes. Ultraviolet light can be divided into the A rays and the B rays. The B rays are more responsible for causing skin cancer but the A rays can also act as tumor promoters. The A rays actually penetrate deeper into the skin are more responsible for the loss of skin elasticity and premature aging of the skin seen in those with chronic sun exposure. It is important to choose sunscreen that blocks out both A and B rays.
6. When do most people get sun damage to the skin?
Most sun damage occurs prior to the age of 18. It is very important that children be protected from the sun and that sunburns not be an acceptable in children.
7. Is skin cancer becoming more common?
Yes. More than one million skin cancers are diagnosed each year. All types of skin cancer are becoming more frequent in part to depletion of the ozone layer of the atmosphere.
8. How is skin cancer diagnosed?
The important first step is that the patient or the doctor suspects that a lesion might be a skin cancer. The lesion is then biopsied and sent to be examined with a microscope. If the lesion is a skin cancer it will require further treatment to remove it completely.
9. What changes on my skin should I suspect are skin cancer?
Skin cancer does not hurt. Sometimes it will be elevated about the surface of the skin but often is flat. A scab that falls off to reform in the same place is very often a skin cancer. Any skin abrasion that does not heal is very suspicious for a skin cancer. Pigmented lesions or moles that are Asymmetrical, have an irregular Border, have different shades of brown black or tan Color, have a Diameter of >6mm, or Evolving (changing) over time are suspect of being melanoma.
10. What is MOHS surgery?
MOHS surgery is a procedure where a dermatologist with special training removes a skin cancer. MOHS surgery has the highest cure rate for most skin cancers and it is the procedure that preserves the most normal skin adjacent to the skin cancer. Preserving normal skin is very important when dealing with cancers on or near the eyelids.
11. What can I do to prevent skin cancer?
Avoid sunburns or excess sun exposure, avoid tanning booths, and protect your children from the sun! Use broad spectrum SPF15 or greater sunscreen and apply it liberally and frequently. Wear sunglasses and a broad brimmed hat when in the sun.
12. I have a history of sun exposure; what can I do to prevent this from being a problem.
As with most things you cannot take back what you did when you were young. However, you can assist by bringing any suspicious lesion to the attention of your primary care doctor, a dermatologist, or Dr. Lin Yang. Often a skin cancer is noted by the way it changes with time. It is very useful to bring to the attention of a doctor that a skin change is getting bigger, sometimes bleeds, or sometimes forms a scab. Skin cancers are much easier to treat and less likely to leave a scar when they are small when diagnosed.
13. What role does Dr. Lin Yang play in diagnosing and treating skin cancers?
Dr. Lin Yang can biopsy any suspicious lesion. Most typically, he recommends skin cancers be removed using the MOHS technique and his staff can coordinate this appointment for you. Dr. Lin Yang is an expert in reconstructing the defects left after skin cancer has been removed from the eyelids or face. Our goal is to cure you of the cancer and to restore normal appearances