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Your Healthy Family: Do you know the warnings signs of skin cancer?

Posted at 2:20 PM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 08:34:29-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — If you have questions, follow up with your primary care doctor, or a dermatologist. Dr. Matheson says you’re welcome to reach out to the folks at The Skin Cancer and Dermatology Center of Colorado Springs.

As we wrap up this three-part series about Vic McMillian and his continuing skin cancer journey with Dr. Brett Matheson, MD, FACMS with the Skin Cancer and Dermatology Center of Colorado Springs what's the big takeaway?

Part 1 Your Healthy Family: Some skin cancers begin in our youth

Part 2 Your Healthy Family: Mohs skin cancer surgery has 99% cure rate

First, hopefully, we will all learn and know the warning signs of skin cancer. Dr. Matheson says, “If you have a sore that won’t heal, you should see a dermatologist. A simple biopsy will determine whether that’s cancer or not. Basal cell carcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma are the two common cancers that we see on the face. Those are also the two cancers that we use this Mohs technique for the most.”

Secondly, even if you do develop skin cancer on your face when it’s caught early, there are options out there for it not to literally scar you for life. Vic says of Dr. Matheson’s work, “He’s fixed me up however you want to look at it. I’ve had 45 procedures above the neck, and I think every single one of them has been Mohs. It was a basal cell or squamous cell, and I have had five skin graphs. You get one (skin cancer) and you’re probably gonna get more and if you take care of it, look at my face - it’s a very good result.”

Finally, stay on top of your skin health by having an annual skin check by a dermatologist. If you are fair-skinned and burn easily and have a hard time tanning, and they recommend you have more than one skin check a year, be a compliant patient like Vic, who comes in at least every three months to be seen. Vic says not every visit for him results in finding skin cancer but, “90% of my check-ups Dr. Matheson finds something. Oftentimes, he finds things that are pre-cancer and he will shoot them with liquid nitrogen and freeze it.”