A woman with clear skin.

Skin Cancer Treatment | Illinois Dermatology Institute

Your leader in the fight against skin cancer.

At IDI, we understand the uncertainty that can come with a cancer diagnosis. Whether you’re living with skin cancer or have recently discovered a mole, an unusual area of patchy skin, or have a painful sore, we are here to help diagnose and treat your condition.

One in five people in the United States will receive a skin cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.

Being proactive about dermatology examinations, self-exams, education, and prevention are all strategic ways to beat the odds.

If you are one in five, you’re not alone.

Our experts can get you on the road to recovery faster with the latest prevention methods, advanced diagnosis and treatment options, and long-term skin care plans. Don’t delay treatment.

A mole that might be skin cancer.

Proactive patient education and routine exams are essential to early detection.

Early detection is critical when it comes to a skin cancer diagnosis and treatment plan that conquers cancer. At IDI, we encourage routine dermatology visits. During these exams, we focus on patient education. We help you understand the signs and symptoms of skin changes that could signal skin cancer in yourself or your loved ones.

We encourage those who have a medical or family history of cancer to get screened early. When detected in good time and treated effectively, the rate of remission is exceptionally high.

IDI offers the most state-of-the-art treatment methods for all forms of skin cancer, including Mohs surgery and superficial radiation therapy. Learn more about our treatment options here.

Understanding your skin cancer diagnosis

A dermatologist looking at a man's mole under a microscope.

Every day, skin cells die, and new ones form to replace them in a process controlled by DNA. Skin cancer can develop when this process does not work properly because of damage to DNA. New cells may form when they are not needed, or older cells may not die. This can cause a growth of tissue known as a tumor. DNA damage is often a result of ultraviolet radiation.

Explore varying types of skin cancer below.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
The most common form of skin cancer, BCC, affects about 3.6 million Americans a year. This type of cancer occurs from the abnormal growth of basal cells on the skin’s surface. BCC is caused by excessive exposure to UV radiation from sunlight or artificial sources. BCC appears as open sores which can ooze, itch, bleed and crust over time. BCC can appear differently on the skin from person to person. Although less aggressive, BCC should be diagnosed and treated promptly to avoid further growth and damage to your skin, tissues, and bones.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
The second most common type of skin cancer, SCC, is characterized by the rapid growth of squamous cells on the skin. SCC often appears as scaly red patches, wart-like skin, or open sores. SCC is caused by exposure to UV radiation and appears on areas of the skin that have been directly exposed to the sun or other light sources. SCC can become invasive if not treated rapidly, leading to disfigurement and even death. If detected early, the rate of curability is high.
Bowen’s Disease
A form of skin cancer that affects the epidermis, Bowen’s Disease is a type of squamous cell carcinoma. The main symptom includes red or brown patches on areas of the skin that have been damaged by the sun. Most often diagnosed in white adults 60 and over, Bowen’s Disease has affected more men than women. This type of cancer is often misdiagnosed for other skin conditions, requiring a skin biopsy to confirm diagnosis. Bowen’s Disease is caused by HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the country. If left untreated, it can spread to deeper layers of your skin.
Actinic Keratoses
Affecting over 3 million Americans a year, actinic keratoses are scaly, rough patches on the skin caused by extensive sun exposure. Symptoms include itching, burning, crusting, and, sometimes, a wart-like appearance. If left untreated, they may turn into skin cancer for 5-10% of patients.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma
Merkel Cell Carcinoma’s first symptom usually includes a painless tumor that grows rapidly. Prompt examination and diagnosis are strongly encouraged as this form of cancer can spread quickly to other parts of the body. Excessive sun exposure and a weakened immune system may increase the risk of developing this rare form of skin cancer.
Commonly found on the skin of your head or neck, angiosarcoma is a skin cancer that affects the lining of the blood and lymph vessels in your body. Signs include a raised area of skin that resembles a bruise, swelling, or a lesion that grows over time. Treatment options depend on the location of cancer.
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