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Beverly Hills Cancer Center is home to world-renowned skin cancer treatment

There are several types of skin cancers, each of which has different traits and levels of severity. Each is named according to the cell from which it originates. Basal cell cancer is the most common but least dangerous. Squamous cell cancer is less common than basal, but is more likely to metastasize. Melanoma is the rarest form but is the most aggressive. At the Beverly Hills Cancer Center you will be treated by among the most experienced skin cancer doctors Los Angeles has to offer.

Signs and symptoms

Skin cancer is primarily present on skin areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, back, scalp, and arms. It may also form on areas that don’t see very much sun, such as the palms, underneath the fingernails, or the genital area. Receiving a thorough skin cancer screening can detect early signs of this disease.

Basal cell cancer generally occurs in sun-exposed areas. Signs of basal cell carcinoma include:

  • Bumps that are whitish and waxy
  • Lesions that are flat and flesh-colored or brown

Squamous cell cancer also appears primarily on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun. Its symptoms include:

  • A firm, red cyst
  • A flat lesion with a crusty, flaking surface

Unlike basal and squamous cancers, melanoma can occur anywhere in the body. It most commonly occurs on the torso, head, or neck in men. In women, it generally develops on the lower legs. In both genders, melanoma can develop on skin that hasn’t been exposed to the sun.

Signs and symptoms of melanoma include:

  • A brown spot with dark specks
  • A mole that changes in any number of qualities, such as size, texture and color
  • A small cyst with areas that appear red, white or blue
  • Dark lesions on the palms or soles of the feet, as well as membranes lining the mouth, nose, vagina or anus
  • Moles with an irregular border

Melanoma may also occur in areas that have little or no sun exposure, such as the palms, soles of the feet and genitals. When melanoma develops in people with darker skin, it’s more likely to be in a hidden area. Primary forms of hidden melanoma include:

Under the nail, otherwise known as subungual melanoma. The first sign is generally a discoloration that can be mistaken for a bruise. In the mouth, digestive tract, urinary tract or vagina. Each of these areas contains a mucous membrane, in which the melanoma develops. Eye melanoma, otherwise known as ocular melanoma, can develop in the uvea. This type of melanoma can be diagnosed in an eye exam.

Breakthrough Research Offers New Hope For Melanoma Patients

The statistics are staggering: cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, have increased by more than 6 times in the last 40 years. It is the fastest-rising incidence of cancer in the last 30 years, and the growth rate is largest among young women and middle-aged men. And because melanoma spreads to other parts of the body so quickly, it is responsible for 80% of the deaths from skin cancer, even though it represents only 4% of the skin cancers diagnosed.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with melanoma, you should be aware that the Beverly Hills Cancer Center is providing patients with the very latest and most effective skin cancer treatments possible, including clinical trials for several new drugs that are proving extremely effective in treating this difficult disease.

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Beverly Hills Cancer Center

Immune-stimulating Drugs Help Your Body Fight The Cancer - Immunotherapy

Our doctors are at the forefront of medical research and innovation, offering patients opportunities to participate in clinical drug trials for innovative drug treatments. One of the innovative melanoma treatments we are exploring is Immunotherapy.

For example, Beverly Hills Cancer Center is a primary researcher for the drug Ipilimumab, which encourages growth and replication of the body's immune-system cells. These cells attack the growing cancer tumors and keep the cancer from spreading, resulting in greater survival rates for 1 in 5 patients.

NBC News Clip

Watch this video to learn more about innovative treatments for melanoma available at the Beverly Hills Cancer Center

Other new drugs now being tested attack the tumor directly, and the early results have doctors hopeful that they will be more successful than their predecessors and have fewer side effects.

Dr. O'Day - NBC News Clip - Los Angeles Skin Cancer Institiute - Melanoma.wmv

Tests and Diagnosis

There are two primary ways in which a doctor will perform skin cancer screening and diagnose skin cancer:

  • Examination of the skin to determine the likelihood of skin cancer based on skin changes. There will likely be further testing after this is done.
  • Removal of a skin sample for testing, also known as a skin biopsy. This can then be tested in a laboratory for signs of skin cancer, including the type of cancer.

If cancer is present, the doctor will conduct a further skin cancer screening to determine the extent or stage of cancer. In the case of superficial skin cancer, such as basal cell cancer, the skin biopsy can remove the growth completely and no further testing need be done. In more advanced forms of cancer, there will be further testing to discover the exact stage. Once the stage is determined, recommendations can be made regarding which treatment will be most effective. The Beverly Hills Cancer Center is proud to have among the most dedicated skin cancer doctors in Los Angeles.

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Skin cancer treatments vary based on factors such as size, depth, type, and location of the growth. Primary treatment options at our private Los Angeles facility include:

  • Freezing growths with liquid nitrogen. Thawing results in the shedding of dead tissue, no longer malignant.
  • Surgery to excise the growth or lesion is applicable to any skin cancer type. The doctor removes cancerous tissue along with a margin of healthy skin.
  • Laser therapy is for precise destruction of growths with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Typically used for superficial skin cancers.
  • Mohs surgery removes growth layer by layer until no cancerous cells remain.
  • Curettage and electrodesiccation for treating superficial cancer. A curette scrapes away cancer cells, and an electric needle destroys any remaining cells.
  • Radiation therapy when surgery is not feasible.
  • Chemotherapy for skin cancer, especially when it has spread.
  • Photodynamic therapy uses focused light to destroy cancerous skin cells. Preceded by drugs that sensitize cancer cells to light.
  • Biological therapy stimulates the immune system, empowering it to kill cancer cells.

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