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.
"All of the staff, including Dr. Brown, are extremely professional, pleasant, personable, and considerate. They respect my concerns and calmed my nerves prior to surgery. Absolutely loved my experience!!"- H.F. / Office Visit / May 18, 2023
"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
"What more can be said than what’s already been said in all of these glowing reviews? Bottom line, you will not find a more highly skilled and caring medical team than what you find at LCPS. From Dr. Brown and nurse Amber to Lexie who answers the phones...all unite together to make sure every question is answered and every care and concern is addressed. I’ve never had surgery where you can get an answer by texting or calling the nurse from the center--sometimes after hours!! Amber kindly (and promptly) answers all questions , consulting with Dr. Brown when necessary, and doesn’t make you feel as though you are a bother. She and Dr. Brown genuinely care about their patients--you have that sense from the first consultation all the way through the follow up visits. But don’t take my word for it--set up an appointment-it will tell you everything you need to know!"- S.U. / Yelp / Oct 07, 2020
"I had breast augmentation a week ago and I am BEYOND thrilled with the results. Such a great experience and best decision I have made. Dr. Brown is an excellent surgeon. The entire staff and Amber have been so amazing and supportive!"- A. / Healthgrades / Jun 24, 2020
"From the polite receptionist to Dr. Brown, I definitely give them 5 stars. My son and I both have been patients for over 6 years and I highly recommend Dr. Brown. He is very trustworthy, honest, and doesn't push surgery unless it is absolutely necessary. He is always available and never seems bothered by my incessant questions. For a good, decent, professional doctor for adults and kids regarding ENT problems, I highly recommend their office."- J.L. / Google / Jan 29, 2020
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
- 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.