Skin cancer refers to the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of skin cells. The most common skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma (affecting cells in the lowest layer of the epidermis) and squamous cell carcinoma (affecting cells in the middle layer of the epidermis). A rarer but more dangerous skin cancer is melanoma, the leading cause of death from skin disease. Risk factors for developing skin cancer include pale skin, family history of melanoma, being over 40 years old, and regular sun exposure. Skin cancers vary in shape, color, size and texture, so any new, changed or otherwise suspicious growths or rashes should be examined immediately by a physician. Early intervention is essential to preventing the cancer from spreading.
Many moles and birthmarks on the skin are completely benign, and pose no threat to the person on whom they appear, even if they are unsightly. Oftentimes, though, patients will want these moles removed because they find them to be unattractive. Fortunately, there are a number of effective removal treatment options available today including, lasers, pulsed light therapy and surgical excision.
Skin tags are little pieces of skin that stick out from the surface of the skin. While skin tags are not cancerous and don't cause problems unless they are continuously irritated, many people nevertheless choose to have these painless growths removed for precautionary or cosmetic purposes. Small tags may be removed without the use of anesthesia, while larger ones may require a local anesthetic.