Skin Cancer Overview
Our specialists provide the most sensitive and advanced level of care for skin cancer
Our multidisciplinary team of dermatologists, oncologists, plastic surgeons and dermatopathologists has years of experience treating thousands of patients with skin cancer.
Because we are an academic medical center, we offer some of the region's most advanced cancer treatments. We are currently offering a very aggressive melanoma treatment option that is available in only a few centers in the country. We use state-of-the-art techniques and technologies based on the latest cancer research.
Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of the cells in the skin. It is the most common type of cancer, and the number of cases is increasing each year.
Anyone can develop skin cancer, regardless of skin type, race, age, where you live or what you do. You are at greater risk if you have any of these factors:
- Fair skin that freckles easily
- Light-colored hair and eyes
- A large number of moles, or moles of unusual size or shape
- A family history of skin cancer
- A personal history of blistering sunburns
- A lot of time spent working or playing outdoors
Organ transplant recipients also are at greater risk for skin cancer, as are those who take immuno-suppressive medications for any reason.
Types of skin cancer
- Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and the least dangerous. It grows slowly, rarely spreads beyond its original site and is seldom life-threatening. But, if left untreated, it can grow deep beneath the skin into underlying tissue and bone, causing serious damage.
- Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer and can grow anywhere, particularly on sites exposed to prolonged sunlight. It sometimes spreads to distant sites, including lymph nodes and internal organs. If not treated, it can become life-threatening.
- Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Although the least common, cases are increasing rapidly. If discovered early, melanoma can be completely cured. If not treated, quickly, it can spread throughout the body and be deadly.
Your role in early detection
By examining your skin, you can catch potentially dangerous conditions while they are still treatable. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas may begin as:
- A small, white or pink nodule or bump with a smooth and shiny, waxy or pitted surface
- A red spot that is rough, dry or scaly
- A firm, red lump that may form a crusted group of nodules
- A sore that bleeds and does not heal after two to four weeks
- A white patch that looks like scar tissue
Melanoma is usually signaled by a change in the size, shape or color of an existing mole or as a new growth. Watch for "ABCDE" warning signs:
- Asymmetry – a growth with unmatched halves
- Border irregularity – ragged or blurred edges
- Color – a mottled appearance, with shades of tan, brown and black, sometimes mixed with red, white or blue
- Diameter – a growth more than 6 millimeters across (about the size of a pencil eraser) or any unusual increase in size
- Evolution – a growth that seems to change in size, shape, color, texture or border
Why You Should Choose The University of Kansas Cancer Center
Latest treatment options
We offer the latest treatment options for each type and stage of skin cancer. Treatment options include:
- Anticancer creams
- Freezing procedures
- Photodynamic therapy
- Biological therapy
- Excision with or without frozen-section margin control
Our staff also are accustomed to working with community healthcare providers. In many cases, you can receive some of your treatment near your own home in coordination with the staff at The University of Kansas Cancer Center.
Each person is unique, so we tailor your care to your personal needs. This means doctors, nurses and other staff work closely together. They discuss every patient’s treatment as a team to stay up to date on your care and treatment.
Access to clinical research trials is another important advantage to our patients. Patients participating in clinical trials gain access to promising skin cancer treatments not available elsewhere.
Second opinion service
We welcome the opportunity to provide you a second opinion on your diagnosis and treatment plan. By providing the latest information and treatment options, we help you make the most informed decisions.
For more information or to make an appointment, call: 913-588-1227 or toll free 844-323-1227.
Skin cancer services are provided at The University of Kansas Hospital at 3901 Rainbow Boulevard in Kansas City, Kansas, and many convenient locations across the region. For details, visit kucancercenter.org/locations.
Make an appointment:
Toll free: 844-323-1227
Toll free: 877-588-5862