Skin Cancer

Dermatology and Aesthetics Center of Utah

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Learn About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, but it’s also the most curable. When treated at an early stage, curing even the deadliest type of skin cancer is possible. Amy Curtis, MD, FAAD, Leena Brown, MPT, PA-C, Cory Maughan, DO FAAD, and the team at Dermatology and Aesthetics Center of Utah specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of skin cancer. Cory Maughan, DO, is an expert in Mohs surgery, an advanced treatment with the highest success rate. If you’re worried about moles and other lesions on your body, schedule a full skin check today. Call the office in Centerville or West Jordan, Utah, or request an appointment online.

What causes skin cancer?

Skin cancer begins when genes in cells mutate and start to grow out of control. The top cause of this mutation is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.

Your cumulative exposure to ultraviolet light determines your overall risk for skin cancer, but other factors also contribute. Your risk of developing skin cancer increases if you have:

  • Fair skin
  • Freckles
  • Red or blonde hair
  • Numerous moles on your body
  • History of blistering sunburns
  • Family history of skin cancer

Medical conditions and medications that make you more sensitive to UV light also raise your chance of developing skin cancer.

What are the different types of skin cancer?

The three types of skin cancer that UV light causes are:

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)

BCC, the most common type of skin cancer, often looks like a raised, round, skin-colored growth. But it could be pink or light red, indented, and look like an age spot or a patch of scaly skin. Sometimes, BCC is a small sore that bleeds and then crusts over.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

SCC, the second most common type, doesn’t usually spread into your body, but it can grow deep into the surrounding area, damaging anything in its path. This type of skin cancer usually starts as a benign skin condition called actinic keratosis, which appears as dry, rough skin patches.


Melanoma accounts for 1% of all skin cancers, but it causes the most deaths. This type of cancer typically begins in an existing mole. While basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas seldom spread, melanoma metastasizes throughout your body. Once that happens, it’s difficult to treat.

How is skin cancer treated?

All types of skin cancer treatment remove the visible tumor and a small amount of the surrounding tissue called the margins. Dermatologists send the tissues to a lab where technicians check for cancer cells in the margins. If cancer remains, you go back to the office, where your provider removes another full layer of tissue from around the entire surgical site.

The team at Dermatology and Aesthetics Center of Utah performs simple excisions when needed, but they also offer a second choice: Mohs surgery.

How does Mohs surgery treat skin cancer?

Mohs surgery is a highly specialized technique that includes mapping the margins before removal and examining the tissues in-office instead of sending them to a lab.

If cancer cells are still in the margins, the team at Dermatology and Aesthetics Center of Utah uses their map to identify the precise location of the cells.

Since you wait in the office while they do the lab work, they can immediately remove another small piece of tissue from the exact spot where they located the cancer cells before removing the tumor. Then they check that piece of tissue for cancer cells.

Using this step-wise process, they remove tiny pieces of tissue until all the cancer is gone. As a result, they save the maximum amount of healthy skin while curing you. 

The best way to detect skin cancer at an early stage is with a full skin check at Dermatology and Aesthetics Center of Utah. To schedule an appointment, call the nearest office or request an appointment online today.