Understanding Skin Cancers & Treatment Options

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. It develops on the epidermis, or the outer layer of skin, and the most common cause is overexposure to UV light, including sunlight and artificial UV light from tanning beds. Skin cancer, however, can begin anywhere on your body regardless of whether that area of the body had a lot of UV light exposure. It is important to be informed about skin cancer risk factors, signs and symptoms, staging, and treatment options.

What Happens After a Skin Cancer Diagnosis?

newly diagnosed with skin cancer - compass oncology

We understand that a new diagnosis of non-melanoma skin cancer or melanoma can be scary and leave you wondering what is next. The skin cancer specialists at Compass Oncology are here to help you every step of the way. We have put together this guide to help you prepare for your first oncology appointment. 


Signs & Symptoms of Skin Cancer and Melanoma


If you find any new marks, moles, or spots on your skin, it is always best to see a skin cancer specialist, who can provide an exam and provide a biopsy, if needed. The sooner a skin cancer can be diagnosed as non-melanoma or melanoma, the better your chance of a positive treatment outcome.

Diagnosing Skin Cancer


Typically, skin cancer is first identified as an abnormal area on the skin by a general practitioner or a dermatologist. However, they won’t know if it’s cancerous or not until it’s removed and tested with a biopsy. Where the biopsy is done depends on the size and place of the abnormal area on your skin. 

Skin Cancer Risk Factors and Prevention


Although there is no way to completely prevent skin cancer, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. Some skin cancers are caused by factors that you can control - like overexposure to UV light, but others are not. Find out what you can do to avoid skin cancers from developing.

Is it Melanoma or Non-Melanoma?


The types of skin cancer are named for the type of cells that become cancerous. There are three major types of skin cancers under, two primary categories of skin cancer. Knowing the type and stage of skin cancer is important as it will determine the best treatment plan for you. There are three major types of skin cancers, grouped into two categories — nonmelanoma and melanoma. 

Skin Cancer Treatment Options


Your skin cancer specialist at Compass Oncology will work together with you to develop a skin cancer treatment plan that’s best for you based on your type and stage of cancer and your general overall health. Your treatment options may include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy - Topical or IV
  • Photodynamic Therapy
  • Immunotherapy for Melanoma
  • Targeted Therapy for Melanoma

Support & Resources for Skin Cancer Patients


From support groups to genetic counseling to financial counseling with our Patient Benefit Representatives, the cancer specialists at Compass Oncology are here for you every step of the way. We encourage you to learn more and take advantage of our supportive care services.