Skin Cancer Treatments and Prevention

Skin Cancer Treatments and Prevention

Nashville Skin offers incomparable skin cancer treatments, serving our community with multiple locations in Nashville. At least 1 in 5 people in the United States will develop some form of skin cancer. Fortunately, if detected early, most types can be successfully treated before they spread to other parts of the body. Since most skin cancers are visible, most lesions can be diagnosed and treated at a pre-cancerous stage, which is why annual skin checks are highly recommended.

At Nashville Skin, our board-certified medical dermatologists are experts in skin cancer prevention, diagnosis, and successful treatment options. All people are at risk of developing cancer, but there are certain factors that can raise a person’s risk, including:

  • Fair complexion
  • Sunburns
  • Family history
  • Exposure to X-Rays
  • Weakened immune system
  • Exposure to certain chemicals: arsenic, coal, industrial tar
  • Tobacco use
  • Tanning bed use

Follow the ABCDE’s of Skin Cancer Prevention

As such a prevalent risk, it is recommended that people of all ages and skin types examine their skin on a monthly basis, in addition to scheduling annual skin exams with a board-certified dermatologist, to evaluate the following signs and symptoms. Remember to follow the ABCDE rule:

  • ASYMMETRY If you were to draw a line through the center of the mark, the two halves should match. An asymmetrical mole or growth is a warning sign.
  • BORDERS – Benign spots or growths have smooth, even borders. Note any uneven edges that appear notched or scalloped.
  • COLORS – Most benign marks are one color or shade. Different shades or tones, or even red, blue, or white pigmentation could be a sign of melanoma.
  • DIAMETER – Benign moles or spots typically have a smaller diameter. Melanomas tend to have a diameter that is larger than a pencil eraser.
  • EVOLVING – Benign moles typically do not change in appearance over time. Any changes in size, color, texture, or another trait should be evaluated by a dermatologist, especially if the mark shows symptoms such as itching, crusting, or bleeding.

Skin Cancer Types

The Nashville community turns to Nashville Skin for expert skin cancer treatment for the following skin cancers. It is important to note that only board-certified dermatologists can administer treatments and our skilled staff includes dermatopathologist and fully accredited Mohs lab in-house.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis (AK), also known as a solar keratosis, is considered a pre-cancer and presents as a red, crusty, scaly growth(s), most often found on the face, ears, scalp, arms, and hands. If left untreated, actinic keratosis can develop into skin cancer, most commonly squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

Learn more about actinic keratosis.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer, which often looks like a pimple or skin-colored growth that won’t go away. BCC develops from cells located within the basal layer of the skin and grows in various patterns. Typically, basal cell carcinomas are slow-growing cancers that remain local, but will not resolve if left untreated.

Learn more about basal cell carcinoma.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a more aggressive form of skin cancer caused by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis. This common cancer can look like a scaly red spot or sore that doesn’t heal. This type of skin cancer is faster growing than basal cell and can potentially spread to the lymph nodes without preventative treatment.

Learn more about squamous cell carcinoma.


Melanoma is a potentially dangerous skin cancer that usually looks like an atypical mole that is asymmetric, has irregular borders or multiple colors, and is larger than the tip of a pencil. Sun exposure and genetics are two of the biggest risk factors for developing melanoma. Early detection is key for successful treatment outcomes with melanoma.

Learn more about melanoma.

Effective Skin Cancer Treatments

Determining the best course of treatment will depend on specific factors including:

  • Type of skin cancer
  • Stage
  • Location on your body
  • Overall health

At Nashville Skin, we offer the most advanced non-surgical and surgical techniques to successfully treat skin cancer and reduce your risk of recurrence.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Liquid Nitrogen

The liquid nitrogen method involves spraying the cancerous lesion with liquid nitrogen, a very cold substance at -196 degrees Fahrenheit, which freezes, damages, and kills the malignant cancer cells found in superficial atypical lesions.

Topical Treatments

Applying topical solutions, such as 5-fluorouracil, directly to the lesion can successfully treat several superficial skin cancers. Topical medications can be used to stimulate your body’s own immune system to attack and kill the malignant cells.

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic or light-based therapy is a cutting-edge treatment that uses a topical photo-sensitizer called Levulan or aminolevulinic acid (ALA), a special light, and molecular oxygen to selectively destroy abnormal and skin cancer cells.

Surgical Skin Cancer Treatments

Electrodesiccation & Curettage

This technique is also referred to as a “scrape and burn” technique that is used to effectively treat small, superficial, and non-aggressive cancers. This two-part skin cancer treatment uses a tool to scrape out malignant cells and an electric needle to burn the area to create a clear margin around the treated area.


Excision is a technique that removes the malignant cells and a specific margin around the cancerous area surgically. The area of skin removed is then tested to ensure that no cancer cells remain.

Mohs Surgery

Mohs micrographic surgery is an innovative technique that completely removes skin cancers and has the highest cure rates when compared to other treatments. Originally developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs in the 1930s, the Mohs micrographic technique has been refined with time to ensure the best outcomes. This surgical technique is best utilized for skin cancers on the head and neck region as well as larger or aggressive skin cancers on the body.

Using direct microscopic examination and specialized marking techniques in our fully accredited Mohs lab, Mohs surgery removes only cancerous areas, while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. This treatment ensures minimal scarring and is a great choice for skin cancers located on the face, neck, or ears.

Nashville Skin is one of the few comprehensive dermatology centers in the area to offer this effective skin cancer treatment from our own fully accredited Mohs surgery lab. No matter what level of skin cancer a patient may have, our facility is fully equipped and able to handle each patient’s needs.

Learn more about Mohs micrographic surgery.

Why Choose Nashville Skin for Your Treatment?

Nashville Skin is the best option for treatment and Mohs surgery, in particular, because our expert staff includes a dermatopathologist (skin disease specialist) and our own in-house, fully accredited Mohs labs. Our expert staff at Nashville Skin are compassionate, approachable, and highly trained in the treatment of skin cancer. Our practitioners include board-certified dermatologists and an in-house Mohs lab, forming a great team who are committed to providing excellent medical care in a friendly, professional environment.

Schedule a Skin Cancer Screening Today

If you are concerned about your risk for skin cancer, contact us today at one of our Nashville locations (21st Avenue S., Southern Hills Medical Center, Centennial Medical Center, and Nolensville), or Clarksville to schedule a skin cancer screening. Early detection is the best chance for prevention and a cure.

Next, read about Cosmetic Dermatology

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