Skin Cancer Treatment – Choosing a Skin Cancer Expert
Last updated date: 04-Jan-2022
7 mins read
Okay, so you’ve recently been diagnosed with skin cancer, and after having gotten over the initial shock, you’re now ready to take affirmative action and begin looking for a doctor, or a team of doctors, who would be able to offer you the treatment you require.
Skin cancer is a common form of cancer and while there are many skin cancer symptoms to be aware of, the positive news is that skin cancer survival rate stats are largely positive as there are more people recovering from this disease now than ever before.
As with all cancers, time is very important because the sooner you can begin skin cancer treatment after receiving a diagnosis, the more likely you will be to make a full recovery and get back on your feet.
As with all forms of cancer treatment, it’s important to choose the most capable doctors and the most highly equipped hospitals and medical centers in order for you to receive the best care and treatment possible.
Here’s a look at several considerations and tips to help you choose the right skin cancer experts to handle your case.
What is skin cancer?
Put very simply, skin cancer is the abnormal formation of skin cells which often forms in parts of the body which have been exposed to the sun. Despite that however, some people may develop skin cancer even though they themselves have not been exposed to excessive levels of the sun and its damaging UV rays.
Typically, the two primary types of skin cancer categories are defined via the skin cells involved in the mutation. These are:
The primary categories of skin cancer are squamous also called epidermoid cancer and basal skin cancers. These are, by far, the most common types of skin cancer and are typically likely to develop on parts of the body which are regularly exposed to the sunlight, so parts such as the neck, shoulders, and the head.
The only positives to take from these types of skin cancer are the fact that in terms of skin cancer treatment, they can be treated effectively, plus they are also far less likely to spread, meaning that they are less likely to put your life in danger.
However, if they are left untreated, they will likely grow and develop, which in turn would make them more likely to spread, which could then be very serious.
The second category of skin cancers are melanomas. This type of skin cancer actually develops from cells which are responsible for giving your skin its colour. Incidentally, these cells are known as melanocytes.
We all have moles on our skin, and sometimes these benign moles can mutate and become cancerous. Furthermore, these moles can develop anywhere on the body, at any time. Men are likely to develop them on the chest and back, whereas women are likely to develop them on their legs.
Again, one reason why the skin cancer survival rate is so high is because skin cancer is very treatable, as long as you catch it relatively early and seek skin cancer treatment right away. Most melanomas can in fact be cured providing you act quickly. If you fail to do so, they may develop and spread to other parts of the anatomy, where treating them would then become much more of a challenge.
Skin cancer symptoms
In order to carry out a diagnosis, it’s important to understand some of the more common skin cancer symptoms that are associated with this awful disease.
Now, before we proceed any further, it is of course important to remember that not all skin cancers are the same and subsequently not all skin cancer symptoms will be identical from person to person and from case to case.
With that said however, some of the more common skin cancer symptoms out there include the following:
- Asymmetry where the two halves of the mole or the lesion are not the same shape
- Skin lesions usually in the form of a brown patch, a mole, a sore, a lump, a bump, or a rash that will not go away
- Unusually coloured moles/lesions which are usually a deep red, white, pink, black, or blue colour
- Moles or lesions with jagged, bumpy, uneven edges
- A large diameter where the lesion is larger than a quarter of an inch
- Changes in the size of the mole or lesion whereby it keeps getting larger or changing shape
Remember, time is of the essence when it comes to making a full recovery so if you are concerned about any changes to your skin or any moles or lesions you don’t like the look of, always speak to your primary health giver as it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Choosing a skin cancer doctor
Okay, so now that we know more about the disease known as skin cancer, it is now time for us to seek medical attention and choose a skin cancer doctor, or treatment team to help us get over the disease and make a complete recovery.
As there are a number of doctors out there specializing in various types of cancer, knowing what to look for and which questions to ask could literally prove life saving.
Here are several tips to help you choose the right skin cancer doctor.
Meet with various professionals
First and foremost, when deciding on a team of experts to handle your case, it is important for you to meet with various experts to understand the key differences between each one.
Throughout your treatment you will encounter radiation oncologists, dermatologists, surgical oncologists, and medical oncologists.
Each person on the aforementioned list will provide different benefits and will specialize in different branches of skin cancer. Radiation oncologists for example, are cancer specialists who specialize in treating melanoma and skin cancer with radiation therapy. Dermatologists however, specialize in skin conditions as well as conditions affecting the nails and hair.
Are they convenient to you and if not, are you willing to relocate?
One important consideration when choosing a doctor, or doctors, to treat your skin cancer, is whether or not they happen to be convenient to you. By this, we mean, are they located somewhere that is convenient for you or are they far away?
Overseas medical treatment could be an option as there are more and more people choosing to seek medical treatment abroad so would that be something that would interest you?
Say for example, you meet with a doctor online who ticks all of the right boxes, has a stellar track record, and comes very highly recommended, but also who happens to be in a different country, would you be willing to relocate temporarily?
A lot of people have done this very strategy when seeking skin cancer treatment after finding the ideal doctor abroad, so realistically, would you be willing to relocate for a while? For most people, as it could literally be their life on the line, a few weeks or months in another country doesn’t faze them one bit.
Are the doctors a part of your health insurance network?
When choosing doctors to treat your skin cancer, one of the biggest considerations is insurance. Specifically, you should understand whether or not the doctors in question will be a part of your health insurance network.
This will help you get a better idea of how much your treatment, if anything, is going to cost you, plus it will help you to make additional plans and alterations if not.
Do they offer lifestyle support?
One consideration which people often overlook when searching for skin cancer doctors and treatment options, is whether or not they offer lifestyle help and support.
Many of the reported causes of skin cancer are reported to be lifestyle related which means that if you are obese, a recreational drug user, or are simply unsure about diet and nutrition, making healthy lifestyle changes can help speed up your recovery and reduce your risks of contracting cancer in the future.
Ideally you will want doctors and skin cancer experts who offer you diet, nutrition, and lifestyle support on top of the various skin cancer treatments
Discuss your treatment options
When it comes to skin cancer treatment, the plan you undergo will depend on numerous factors such as the type of skin cancer, its stage, the severity, you yourself, and more besides.
Skin cancer treatment options include things such as: cryotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and more besides.
Naturally you will have questions regarding the different types of treatments available to you, so be sure to speak to different experts to get different options and opinions.