More than 2 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year, and that’s just in the United States. Finding out that you have skin cancer can be scary, but the experienced doctors at Riverchase Dermatology are board certified by the American Board of Dermatology so you’ll receive state-of-the-art care. Since 2000, our skin cancer physicians have performed the highly successful Mohs Micrographic Surgery and other effective therapies with compassionate care focused solely on the wellbeing of our patients.


Even the same type of skin cancer can look very different from person to person. This makes it hard to look at a picture and tell if you have skin cancer. The best way to tell if you have skin cancer is to see a dermatologist. You should see a dermatologist right away for a skin cancer check if you see anything on your skin that lasts for 2 weeks or longer and is growing, changing shape, bleeding or itching.

There are several types, each named for the skin cell from which they originate. Most skin cancers, however, fall into one of these three groups:

Basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, makes up 80-85% of skin cancer occurrence. Slow growing and highly curable, basal cell is often found on the face, ears, arms and other sun-exposed areas. You may find a flesh-toned to reddish spot that looks like a translucent bump or ulcerated sore. It can also present as a pimple that doesn’t clear, a sore that bleeds, heals and returns or a scar that feels waxy. It can also be a group of slow-growing, shiny pink or red growths that look like sores and may be scaly or bleed.

Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the upper layers of skin (epidermis), but can be fast growing and spread into other organs. The cancer presents itself as a red bump or non-healing sore and can itch and bleed, heal and return. Another sign is a thick scaly patch on the lip. About 10% of reported skin cancer is this type.

Melanoma represents 5% of skin cancers. It is the most serious, aggressive form and can be fatal, so it’s important to catch melanoma early for optimal cure probability. Melanoma symptoms include a red to black patch or bump and may appear as a new spot, an existing mole or a mole that changes shape or color. It may look scaly, ooze or bleed. It can also present as a bruise on the foot that does not heal or a black/brown streak underneath a fingernail or toenail.

Other Types
Less common types of skin cancer include cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) and Merkel cell carcinoma.

Precancerous Skin Lesions
Seemingly harmless changes to your skin can become cancerous over time, so be vigilant about getting new or changing spots checked by your doctor. The most well known of these precancerous lesions appear as scaly patches called actinic keratosis (AKs) and are commonly found where skin has been sun-exposed most: the head, neck or hands. Actinic keratosis can develop into squamous cell carcinoma, so don’t put off scheduling your dermatology checkup.

What Causes It?

More than 90% of all skin cancer is caused by overexposure to the sun. (Family history also plays a role in a small percentage of skin cancers, especially melanomas.) Sunlight lets off ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which damages skin cells over time, causing them to replicate abnormally. This growing collection of abnormal cells is the basis for skin cancer.

To combat this, your body produces melanin, which gives skin its tan to brown color and can block the damaging effects of UV radiation. The darker the skin, the better protected it is from UV radiation. That’s why a tan develops. But, a tan will form only after the skin has already been damaged, and it provides very little additional protection, even for those with very dark skin. And, those with fair skin have almost no melanin to protect them.

Treatment Options

As part of a dermatological exam, your doctor will check your skin for bumps or spots that are unusual in color, size, shape or texture. If an abnormality is detected, a small skin sample is removed for lab testing. This biopsy is required to provide an accurate diagnosis.

The right treatment plan depends on many factors, including skin cancer type (basal cell, squamous cell, melanoma, etc.), size (smaller or larger mass), how far it has spread, location on the body, number of cancerous spots, and family and personal histories.

Once a diagnosis has been made, Riverchase Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery offers advanced treatment options for the treatment of skin cancer.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery is an advanced procedure for skin cancer that offers the highest potential for cure with about a 99% success rate. It is performed under local anesthesia in the doctor’s office. Skin cancers can be deceptively small on the surface of the skin, and to remove it completely requires microscopic examination of the cells. The Mohs surgeon maps out the cancerous area, excises small portions of tissue and immediately examines each one under a microscope. This process is repeated until no cancerous tissue is left. The surgeon then reconstructs the wound by using a variety of repair techniques. This type of pin-pointed accuracy minimizes the chance of cancer regrowth, preserves most healthy skin cells and lessens the potential for scarring. To learn more about this procedure please visit the American College of Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology (ACMS) website.

Skin Cancer Procedures
Additional procedures to Mohs surgery are provided by Riverchase Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery skin cancer specialists. These, along with others, include:

Cryotherapy. “Freezing” away skin cancer lesion with the use of liquid nitrogen. The doctor may prescribe a topical medication such as imiquimod in conjunction with this treatment.

Curettage-electrodesiccation. Scraping off the tumor with a sharp-edged curette and then cauterizing the area with heat, which further removes the tumor and prevents excessive bleeding.

Excision. Traditional surgical procedure to extract the tumor along with surrounding skin tissue to ensure complete removal of the cancer, then closing the wound and control bleeding with the use of stitches.

Topical medications may also be prescribed by your doctor to treat precancerous lesions or skin cancer.

If it is caught early and properly treated, skin cancer can be cured. Even melanoma, which can be deadly, has a cure rate of almost 100 percent when treated early.

Locations with this service

38162 Medical Center Ave
Zephyrhills, FL 33540
2625 Executive Park Dr, Suite 7
Weston, FL 33331
Venice Health Park 
1295 Jacaranda Blvd.
Venice, FL 34292
Tampa Palms 
15310 Amberly Dr, Suite 150
Tampa, FL 33647
Sun City Center 
1007 E Del Webb Blvd, Suite 101
Sun City Center, FL 33573
St. Petersburg 
2299 9th Avenue N, Suite 1D
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
Pembroke Pines 
603 N Flamingo Rd, Suite 350
Pembroke Pines, FL 33028
9015 US Highway 301 N
Parrish, FL 34219
North Port – Commons 
14840 Tamiami Trail
North Port, FL 34287
North Port – Bobcat Village 
2481 Bobcat Village Center Rd, Suite 101
North Port, FL 34288
Naples – North 
1015 Crosspointe Dr.
Naples, FL 34110
Naples – Downtown 
261 9th St S
Naples, FL 34102
Naples – Colonial Square 
1108 Goodlette-Frank Rd. N.
Naples, FL 34102
Naples – Central 
9125 Corsea Del Fontana Way, Suite 100
Naples, FL 34109
Formerly Bowes Dermatology
Mercy Professional Building Suite 6008
3659 S Miami Ave, Suite 6008
Miami, FL 33133
Lakewood Ranch 
8340 Lakewood Ranch Blvd, Suite 260
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
Fort Myers – West 
9400 Gladiolus Dr, Suite 320
Fort Myers, FL 33908
Fort Myers – South 
7331 Gladiolus Drive
Fort Myers, FL 33908
Fort Myers – The Forum 
3268 Forum Blvd, Suite 201
Fort Myers, FL 33905
19527 Highland Oaks Dr, Suite 201
Estero, FL 33928
406 N Indiana Ave
Englewood, FL 34223
1122 Druid Rd E
Clearwater, FL 33756
Cape Coral – Surfside 
2366 Surfside Blvd, Suite C111
Cape Coral, FL 33991
Cape Coral 
413 Del Prado Blvd S, Suite 101
Cape Coral, FL 33990
Bonita Springs 
25987 S Tamiami Trail, Unit 90
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Boca Raton – East 
200 Glades Road, Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Bay Harbor Islands 
1111 Kane Concourse, Suite 100
Bay Harbor Islands, FL 33154
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