Living in sunny Florida has many advantages. Unfortunately, all the sunshine has a significant disadvantage: skin cancer. There are several types of skin cancer, most of which are easily treated with a very high chance of cure. Basal cell cancer is the most common skin cancer. This type of skin cancer very rarely gets into the glands or blood stream, but tends to grow in one place. If left in place long enough, it could grow into deeper structures such as bone or cartilage. Complete removal of the cancer usually completely cures it without any further treatments. Squamous cell cancer is very similar to basal cell, but has a greater tendency to spread into the lymph glands or bloodstream. For this to occur, the cancer usually has been present for a very long time. Therefore, most squamous cell cancers are also curable by complete, early removal. Melanoma is the third most common skin cancer and also the worst one to have. Melanoma can get into the glands and bloodstream and spread to various organs. Early removal is potentially curable, depending on how deep the tumor has grown. Also, lymph nodes may also need to be removed.
Shands at the University of Florida offers the entire spectrum of skin cancer treatment from initial diagnosis and biopsy to reconstructive surgery. Treatments include: biopsy, laser therapy, cryotherapy, surgical excision, sentinel lymph node biopsy, lymph node removals, and reconstructive surgery with skin grafts and tissue flaps. If needed, organized care with an oncologist is also provided.
Learn more about the skin cancer surgery procedure.