About Skin Cancer Screenings
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that 20% of Americans will get skin cancer. The high incidence of skin cancer means routine skin exams are very important, particularly when you have a family or personal history of skin cancer. Detecting skin cancer early is vital to provide you more treatment choices and improved results. In addition to many innovative skin cancer procedures, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael J. Brown and our skilled team offer complete skin cancer exams along with biopsies of abnormal growths. To schedule a skin cancer exam, contact The Loudoun Center for Plastic Surgery in Ashburn, VA.
Types of Skin Cancer
At our Ashburn, VA facility, we search for four kinds of skin cancer in a skin cancer exam:
- Actinic Keratoses (AK): This type will typically form after age 40 years and around regions of the skin that were exposed to sunlight — like the head, throat, hands, and arms. AKs look like scaly, dry areas and are generally deemed precancerous since they have the capability to become squamous cell carcinoma.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): This is the most common kind of cancer. BCC can develop anywhere in your skin and might look like a pink spot or as a pearl-sized, flesh-colored bulge. BCC has to be treated since it has the potential to develop into the bones and nerves, resulting in disfigurements and damage.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): This type is the second most common form of skin cancer. Developing on skin that gets the most UV exposure, SCC looks like scaly spots; firm, red lumps; and/or sores that frequently reopen. All these need to be eliminated to avoid disfigurement and damage.
- Melanoma: This sort of cancer grows abruptly as a dark area in the skin. We use ABCD to identify melanoma — Asymmetry, Border, Color, and Diameter. Based on information from the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma accounts for just 1% of skin cancer, but it causes most skin cancer deaths. This is why melanoma needs to be treated quickly once it has been diagnosed.
"Doctor brown is absolutely amazing. His staff is always polite, informative, and helpful. Doctor Brown takes his time on each client which I love. He knows exactly how to achieve what I want each time I go."- M.B. / Yelp / Jul 19, 2019
"Dr. Brown and all the staff are amazing. I have so many questions about my procedure and they took their time to answer all of them. After surgery they also were very patience and caring. Dr. Brown make sure that I was happy with the results. He likes his work to be perfect which is what I wanted it."- M.G. / Yelp / Jan 18, 2020
"I would highly recommend Dr. Brown if you’re considering plastic surgery. Dr. Brown was recommended to me 20 years ago by another plastic surgeon’s nurse. That in itself spoke volumes. Immediately upon meeting him, I knew I found the right doctor to perform my breast implant surgery. He was caring, knowledgeable, and made me feel comfortable with the entire process. Mostly I felt his passion for his work. I sensed he truly loved his profession and had set his bar very high to give the best and most natural results. My own expectations were exceeded from the care I was given prior to, during and after my procedure. My breast implants were a success and Dr. Brown gave me exactly what I wanted. I was super pleased with the results. I recommended my sister and roommate to Dr. Brown for breast augmentation and they were also very happy with their results. About 8 months later I had some medical questions regarding a separate health issue. I reached out to Dr. Brown for advice. He spent so much time talking with me. What stood out and resonated with me, was he offered to talk to other medical professionals on my behalf to translate what I didn’t understand. He went above and beyond. Fast forward 20 years and 2 kids later, my breasts were still looking great but I wanted to exchange them for silicone. I also wanted to tighten the skin and remove the bulge above my cesarean section scar. I now live in New York and traveled down to Virginia to consult with him. I was greeted by his nurse, Amber. She wears many hats and is present from start to finish. It relieves a lot of stress when you have that one person to correspond with during such big decision and process as this. I’m impressed with her involvement on so many levels. Amber is a gem for his practice and they compliment each other making them a dynamic team. She’s in constant contact with me and super caring and interested. I wished I lived closer because I think we would be great friends. That’s how they make you feel at the Loudon Center for Plastic Surgery. My consult with Dr. Brown was everything I expected it to be. His warmth was evenly matched with my memories. Together, we had a plan to address my concerns. I was pleasantly surprised to learn of some procedures to treat my abdomen that were minimally invasive. My dates were set and when I arrived to my appointment I was happy that Dr. Brown’s surgical center was convenient and private. A hospital setting can’t compare to the personal care you receive there. Now I know how Beyonce felt when she reserved the entire maternity floor to deliver her baby. His operating room staff to include Clint and Angela were fantastic providing me comfort before, during and after my procedure. They not only made me feel physically at ease but emotionally as well. They constantly assured me everything was going to be great. I’m one week out and my results are awesome. I have a lot of healing ahead of me in the weeks to come but can tell it’s going to be a vast improvement. I’m so grateful for having Dr. Brown as my plastic surgeon. I can only hope he will never retire. I recommend him to anyone and everyone, near or far. His precision and expertise is priceless and any distance is worth giving your only body the best it deserves."- K.O. / Google / Jan 18, 2020
"Dr. Brown and all the staff are amazing. I have so many questions about my procedure and they took their time to answer all of them. After surgery they also were very patience and caring. Dr...."- M.G. / Yahoo / Jan 18, 2020
"I normally don’t take the time to write a review but due to how difficult it was for me to make the decision on cosmetic surgery coupled with deciding on which doctor and team to trust, I feel compelled to share my experience with others. Dr. Brown and his team are absolutely incredible. I had so many questions and concerns leading up to my surgery. Dr. Brown, Amber and Melissa answered every single one, eased my nerves and made me comfortable every step of the way including the day of surgery. During my recovery, Dr. Brown and Amber were always available for any questions and concerns I had. They all have been wonderful and I am truly pleased with the results and exceptional service provided. Thank you all for taking such good care of me and I highly recommend Dr. Brown and team!"- Anonymous / Healthgrades / Dec 18, 2019
Women and men of all ages can have skin cancer. While those with lighter complexions are at higher risk, all skin types and tones may get skin cancer. We recommend that every patient do routine self-checks of their skin so that they know what is there and if anything changes. You should schedule a skin cancer screening whenever you are worried that an area on your skin has changed, bleeds, or itches. If you or a close relative has or had skin cancer, then you may want to schedule yearly skin checks.
During your skin check, we will check your entire body for moles, birthmarks, and any other abnormal growths. We might make a map of spots to indicate regions of concern and also to readily identify new growths at future appointments. Additionally, we will explain to you how you can perform a self-exam in between your visits.
Sometimes, we might perform a biopsy of a suspicious spot. We will numb the region, then shave a little sample. The sample will be sent to a pathology laboratory for evaluation. After the pathology report is complete, you will be contacted to hear the results.
What to Expect
Following your examination, a member of our team will speak with you about your skin and make recommendations. We will also tell you when you need to come back for your next skin exam.
Should you require a biopsy of a strange spot, there is a possibility of scarring. We will do our best to minimize the incision and remove the thinnest skin sample. We will also tell you the best method to take care of your skin following the biopsy that will help your skin heal properly. With good maintenance, the incision should fade so it is hardly visible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How are the ABCDs of skin cancer identified?
The ABCDs of skin cancer include Asymmetry, Border, Color, and Diameter. Cancerous moles may appear in an irregular shape where one side does not match the other. They may also have jagged or blurred borders, as well as not appear uniform in color with different shades of black, brown, or tan. Additionally, they are often more than six millimeters in diameter.
When should I receive a skin cancer screening?
While it is recommended to receive a skin cancer screening annually or bi-annually, you may also need a screening if you notice any changes or abnormalities in lesions or moles. When detecting skin cancer, early detection is key so it is important that you seek the appropriate care at the first sign of irregularity. If you are unsure if a mole or lesion may be cancerous, it is better to go ahead and schedule a screening just to be sure.
When is a biopsy necessary?
During the first step of a skin cancer screening, Dr. Brown will closely review any part of the skin that appears abnormal. If something appears like it might be cancerous, then a biopsy can be taken. The biopsy is the step that confirms or denies whether cancer exists. Very few cancers are definitively diagnosed by simply looking at it.
If skin cancer is identified, what is the next step in treatment?
Cancer screenings and biopsies are the first steps to finding skin cancer early. If found, removal of all cancer cells can be your best bet to reduce the chance of the cancer spreading. The Loudoun Center for Plastic Surgery works with patients on screenings, biopsies, diagnosis, and treatments. We can provide plastic and reconstructive surgery as well. If necessary, we can also refer patients to a Mohs-trained dermatologist who can provide removal of specific skin cancers.
Plan Your Procedure
- Average Cost
- $350 - $700
- Return to Work
- Surgery Time
- 1 Hour
- Follow Ups
- 1 Year
Early Detection is the Key
Knowing your risk factors and early detection are two major keys to the effective treatment of skin cancer. If you are due to get a yearly skin check, then contact The Loudoun Center for Plastic Surgery in Ashburn, VA. Whether you are already visiting our practice for other treatments, are at elevated risk for getting skin cancer, or you have questions about a strange growth on your skin, call to schedule a skin cancer exam at The Loudoun Center for Plastic Surgery.