Skin Cancer

Helena Dermatology | Montana Aesthetics PC

Aesthetics & Dermatology located in Helena, MT

Skin cancer strikes 1 in 5 women, men, and children during their lifetime, making it the most common type of cancer in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Latha S. Vellanki, MD, offers skin cancer screenings and treatments at Helena Dermatology & Montana Aesthetics PC to keep your skin healthy and cancer-free. If you have a new lesion or changing mole, call the Helena, Montana office today or book via the online form.

Skin Cancer Q & A

What causes skin cancer?

Sun damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays causes most cases of skin cancer, but other cases are genetic. 

Skin cancer can appear on areas of your body that never get exposed to the sun, including your genitals and the soles of your feet, which is why regular skin cancer screenings are so important to your health.

What types of skin cancer are there?

During your yearly skin cancer screening, Dr. Vellanki looks for all of the different types of skin cancer lesions and also for precancerous lesions, such as actinic keratosis. The main forms of skin cancer are:

  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) — most common type of skin cancer; looks like a bump or patch of skin that’s pink or flesh-colored  
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) — a sore that won’t heal or keeps recurring; may look like a red bump or scaly patch  
  • Melanoma — most malignant form of skin cancer; appears as a dark spot or evolves from a pre-existing mole  

If Dr. Vellanki identifies a cancerous or precancerous lesion on your skin, she removes it immediately. If not treated in time, melanoma spreads to other areas of your body and can be deadly. If you have melanoma, she may refer you to an oncologist.

What happens during a skin cancer screening?

During your screening, Dr. Vellanki examines your entire body. She also checks areas that may be hard for you to visualize, such as:

  • Between fingers and toes
  • Palms of hands
  • Soles of feet
  • Scalp
  • Behind ears
  • Between buttocks
  • On genitals

You should get a skin cancer screening every year, especially if you’re fair-skinned or have ever used a tanning bed. 

Can I check for skin cancer myself?

Examine your skin regularly for new moles or changing moles. Every month check your moles for the ABCDE signs:

A — Asymmetry

B — ragged or notched Borders  

C — dark brown, black, red, or varied Colors 

D — Diameter bigger than a pencil eraser  

E — Shape, size, color, or texture that Evolves

Contact Dr. Vellanki right away if you notice any of the ABCDE signs in an old or new mole or if you have a mole or lesion that oozes or bleeds. Dr. Vellanki treats skin cancer by surgically removing the lesion.

Regular skin cancer screenings at Helena Dermatology & Montana Aesthetics PC can save your life. Book a screening by calling the helpful team today or use the online form.