What is Dermatology

Skin Cancers of the Lower Extremity

Skin cancer is the most common of all human cancers, with approximately one million people in the United States diagnosed each year with some type of the disease. Cancer occurs when normal cells undergo a transformation and grow and multiply without normal controls. There are three major types of skin cancers; basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Other unusual types of skin cancers include Merkel cell tumors and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberances. There are other skin cancers, but we will concentrate on these three, as they are the most common.

The vast majority of skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. While malignant, these are unlikely to spread to other parts of the body. They may be locally disfiguring if not treated early. A small but significant number of skin cancers are malignant melanomas. Malignant melanoma is a highly aggressive cancer that tends to spread to other parts of the body. These cancers may be fatal if not treated early. Like many cancers, skin cancers start as precancerous lesions. These precancerous lesions are changes in the skin that are not cancer but could become cancer over time. We refer to these as dysplastic. Actinic keratosis is an area of red or brown scaly rough skin which can develop into a squamous cell carcinoma. A nevus is a mole, and abnormal moles are called dysplastic nevi. These can potentially develop into melanoma over time.

At the Jersey Shore Foot and Leg Center, we have had experience treating skin cancer of the lower extremity for over 25 years. As board-certified surgeons, we have the ability to surgically remove these lesions. At the Jersey Shore Foot and Leg Center, we use a dermatoscope to help us diagnose and differentiate malignant and non-malignant lesions. Biopsy of the lesions is done in the office and sent to a specialty lab that specializes in the diagnosis of lower extremity biopsies. After the biopsy returns, depending on the diagnosis, certain treatment options will be offered to the patient. At the Jersey Shore Foot and Leg Center, we approach skin cancers with combined expertise of the dermatologist, cancer surgeon, and an oncologist, if necessary.

In conclusion, surgical removal is the mainstay of skin cancer treatment for both basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. Our experience as board-certified surgeons of the lower extremity gives us the advantage of planning the surgical intervention with the least potential for complications. If you are concerned about a suspicious lesion on your lower extremity, do not hesitate to contact the Jersey Shore Foot and Leg Center and set up an appointment for an evaluation of your suspicious lesion.

Information About Dermatology

Anatomy of the Skin

Skin. It is the largest organ on the human body. It creates a protective layer against heat, light, the environment, injury and infection. It helps regulate the body's temperature; stores water, fat and Vitamin D; prevents entry of bacteria; and acts as a sensory organ. On average, an adult has between 18 and 20-square feet of skin, which roughly weighs six pounds.

Skin Care Topics

Sun Safety , Skin Care Basics, Tanning Beds/Tanning Booths, Tattoos, Pregnancy-Related Skin Conditions, Diabetes-Related Skin Conditions, Skin Cancers.

Skin Conditions

Acne, Rosacea, Head Lice, Rashes, Eczema (Dermatitis), Lumps, Bumps, and Cysts, Psoriasis, Blisters, Vitiligo, Pruritus, Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac and more.

Skin Growths

Seborrheic Keratosis, Moles (Nevi), Warts, Actinic Keratosis

Skin Infections

Herpes Simplex Virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ringworm (Tinea Corporis), Impetigo , Erysipelas, Chicken Pox (Herpes Varicella Zoster), Cellulitis and more.