Skin Cancer / Melanoma

Over one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, and that number appears to be increasing. Currently researchers estimate that 20% of people will contract some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. Skin cancer can be deadly. However many skin cancers can be treated with a high degree of success providing they are recognized in their early stages. Learning what to look for, and avoiding sun exposure are very important.

Anyone can contract skin cancer, but certain factors like heredity, skin type, and frequent sun exposure may place you at a greater risk.

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colorado foot institute Melanoma / Skin Cancer

Signs of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer signs can be observed by looking at the moles on your body. It is very important to pay close attention to your skin on a regular basis. The most common method used outside the doctor’s office is the ABCDE method of discernment.
ABCDE Method

  • A – Asymetrical. If you were to divide the mole down the center and the two halves do not match.
  • B – Border. Sometimes the borders of early melanoma will be uneven or appear as though the mole is “bleeding out” from its point of origin.
  • C – Color. Different colors could also be warning signs of melanoma. Colors can range from different shades of brown or black, to even red and blue.
  • D – Diameter. Melanomas are generally larger in diameter than ¼ of an inch (roughly the size of a pencil eraser).
  • E – Evolving. Changes in color, shape, size, and elevation can also be signs of skin cancer.

Skin Cancers – Types

There are different types of skin cancer, and each presents a different degree of risk.

Basal Cell Skin Cancer – is the most common and most treatable form of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma usually presents as a small bump in areas that receive the most sun exposure such as the head or face.

Squamous Cell Skin Cancer – is also very treatable if caught early on. Squamous cell carcinoma generally presents with red scaly patches. They are usually limited to the face, but in rare cases can be on other parts of the body as well.

Malignant Melanoma – is the most rare and most serious of the skin cancers. Malignant melanoma is responsible for the most cancer deaths, and it is important to recognize and treat it immediately. It often starts as a mole that changes size, color, or shape. It may also bleed or ooze, and is often tender or lumpy. Malignant melanoma is caused by uncontrolled growth of melanocytes, or pigment cells.

Nodular Melanoma – is the most aggressive and dangerous type of malignant melanoma. It has a very short horizontal growth phase and quickly enters the vertical growth phase, which presents the greatest risk for metastasis to other parts of the body. Nodular melanoma may be pigmented (dark) or non-pigmented (pink). The lesions also tend to bleed.

Skin Cancer Prevention

Limiting exposure to ultraviolet radiation (exposure to the sun and the use of tanning beds), wearing protective clothing that shields skin from UV rays, and the use of sunscreen lotions with an SPF rating of at least 30 can all help protect you from developing skin cancer.

If you think you may be at risk for skin cancer it is advised you avoid exposure to the sun between 9a.m. and 3p.m., as these are usually the hours at which the suns ultraviolet rays can be the most intense.

Skin Cancer Treatment

The most effective treatment for skin cancer is to surgically excise the affected area before the condition spreads. In basal cell and many squamous cell cancers this is highly effective. In melanomas, it is important to surgically remove the tumor before it’s Breslow thickness surpasses 1 mm. In nodular melanoma, this may be a very short window of opportunity.

We Can Help

Dr. Mechanik is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and Board Certified in Reconstructive Rear Foot and Ankle Surgery. He has the medical and surgical skills to treat your foot conditions. He and his family are natives of the Denver area and opened Colorado Foot Institute in 2006.

Dr. Mechanik received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from the the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine which is part of the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, a national leader in medical education.

Dr. Mechanik then went on to complete a twenty-four month post-graduate Residency training program in Foot and Ankle Surgery and a twenty-four month surgical Fellowship training program in Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Surgery.

Dr. Mechanik is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and a Diplomate, American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. He is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and Reconstructive Rearfoot/Ankle Surgery.

Skin lesions on the feet most often go undetected.  Although feet receive frequent sun exposure, people do not apply regular sun screen protection.

Call us today at 303-333-3383. We can help you with this or any other foot related problems.

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For the convenience of our patients and guests, Colorado Foot Institute offers free, high-speed wireless internet access. Simply look for the guest access network on your wireless-enabled device to sign on.

Dr. Joseph Mechanik is Certified by

American Podiatric Medical Associations
American Professionals Wound Care Association
American Board of Podiatric Surgery
American Collage of Foot and Ankle Surgeons