955 Black Drive • Prescott, AZ 86305
3262 Windsong • Prescott Valley, AZ 86314
928-445-SKIN (7546)
SunWest Dermatology & Cancer Treatment Center, Prescott, AZ
Richard Cirelli M.D.
Medical Dermatology

Cancer Screening:
      The sun is responsible for over 90 percent of all skin cancers. Sun induced skin cancers are the most common cancers of Caucasian adults. The incidence of skin cancer is increasing in epidemic proportions in our country, with even higher incidence rates in sunny Arizona!! The risk of developing a melanoma, a potentially deadly skin cancer, doubles every 10 years of your adult life. Screenings have been proven to be helpful in finding these cancers early and in decreasing the chance of dying from these cancers. The American Cancer Society recommends professional skin exams every year for those over 40, and every three years for those 20 to 40 especially if you live in a sunny climate. In addition to having these routine dermatological exams, I recommend you inspect your entire body monthly for any skin changes and consult your dermatologist immediately if you notice new skin variations.

In addition to skin cancers, I treat:
  • All diseases of the skin
  • Acne, adolescent and adult
  • Skin allergy testing
  • Eczema
  • and more
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma
    Squamous Cell Carcinoma
    Actinic Keratosis
    Malignant Melanoma
    Warts, Growths and Tumors
    Mohs Surgery

    I. Basal Cell Carcinoma
    Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer, effecting nearly 1,000,000 Americans each year. Most are caused by chronic sun exposure, especially in people with fair skin, light hair and blue, green or grey eyes. This skin cancer rarely spreads to other organs of the body; however, it can cause destruction of surrounding tissue. Thus, early detection and treatment is necessary.

    While it occurs more frequently in older individuals, it does occur in young adults and sometimes even children. People with one BCC have a greater chance of developing more in the future. Hence, after diagnosis and treatment, regular follow-up visits to a dermatologist are important.

    BCC may have several different appearances on your skin. Some warning signs are an open sore, a reddish patch, a growth with an elevated border and a central indentation, a bump or nodule and a scar-like area. It can resemble noncancerous skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. Only a trained dermatologist can decide for sure.

    II. Squamous Cell Carcinoma
    Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer with an estimated 250,000 new cases per year in the United States. Most cases are caused by chronic overexposure to the sun. It may also occur where skin has suffered certain kinds of injury: burns, long-standing sores, sites previously exposed to X-rays or certain chemicals. In addition, medical conditions that suppress the immune system over an extended period of time may encourage development of the disease.

    While dark skinned people are far less likely than Caucasians to develop skin cancer, more than two thirds of the skin cancers that dark-skinned people develop are SCCs, usually arising on sites of preexisting inflammatory skin conditions or burn injuries. It is important for dark skinned people to also use sun protection.

    With prompt treatment, SCC is not life threatening. If left untreated, SCC can destroy much of the tissue surrounding the tumor and may result in the loss of a nose or ear, for example. Aggressive types can spread to the lymph nodes and other organs resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths each year in the United States.

    After a diagnosis, there are several treatment options to choose from, depending on the location, size, microscopic characteristics, overall health of the patient and other factors. Most are relatively minor office-based procedures that require only local anesthesia.

    III. Actinic Keratosis
    Actinic Keratosis (AK), sometimes called solar keratosis, is a precancerous condition of thick, scaly or crusty patches of skin also caused by long-term exposure to sunlight. AKs are not life threatening as long they are diagnosed and treated in the early stages. If left untreated, they have the potential to progress into squamous cell carcinoma. There are various treatment options based on the location, size, and amount of AKs on the body. Age and general health is also a factor. Common treatment modalities included cryosurgery (freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen) topical chemotherapy creams, photodynamic therapy, chemical peels and laser resurfacing therapy. If you develop AKs, you and your dermatologist will decide which option is best for you.

    IV. Malignant Melanoma
    Malignant Melanoma is a rarer and more serious type of skin cancer, causing the majority of skin cancer related deaths. Worldwide, about 160,000 cases are diagnosed and about 48,000 melanoma related deaths each year. This form of skin cancer is found more often in males and in Caucasians, and more common among Caucasians living in sunny climates like Arizona. Surgical removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue is typically necessary. Only the smallest and most shallow melanomas can be cured by surgery alone, so early diagnosis is very important.. If not caught early, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy may be necessary as well.

    Prompt action is your best response to any suspected skin cancers!


    V. Warts, Tumors and Growths
    Be sure that a suspected wart is just a benign tumor before using an over-the-counter remedy. Some types of skin cancer can present as wart-like growths at first. Patients with diabetes or peripheral arterial disease with warts on their legs or feet should see their physician. What you may think is just a wart may be indicative of something more serious. An existing wart on one part of your body can spread to other areas, causing more warts.

    VI. Mohs Surgery
    In the event non-life threatening cancerous tissue is detected, Mohs Surgery may be indicated. Mohs Surgery is a micro-graphically controlled procedure providing the most precise method for removal of cancerous tissue, while sparing the greatest amount of healthy tissue and leaving less scarring. It has a cure rate of up to 99% for certain tumors.

    Click for Patient Information Brochure on Mohs Surgery published by American Society of Mohs Surgery.

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    955 Black Drive • Prescott, AZ 86305   |   3262 Windsong • Prescott Valley, AZ 86314
    928-445-SKIN (7546)