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Learn about skin cancer and how Knoxville Institute of Dermatology can help you.

Skin Cancer 2017-11-07T21:36:55+00:00

Project Description

Skin cancer is the most common form of human cancer, outnumbering the total incidence of breast, prostate, lung and colon. The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. About 50% of Americans who reach age 65 will be diagnosed with either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. Melanoma accounts for less than 1% of skin cancer cases, but is estimated to kill over 10,000 people in the US annually. Skin cancer is the most easily treated form of cancer with early diagnosis and treatment.

Our board certified providers at Knoxville Institute of Dermatology specialize in skin cancer diagnosis and treatment, including mohs micrographic surgery. If you have a suspicious area on your skin or would like a total body skin exam, contact our office today.

What is skin cancer?

A skin cancer is a tumor in which there is uncontrolled proliferation of any of the skin cells, whereas the normal process of regeneration of skin involves replication of the cells in a controlled fashion. Each subtype of skin cancer has unique characteristics. The most common forms of skin cancer are:

  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), including keratoacanthoma
  • Melanoma
  • Superficial basal cell carcinoma
  • Intraepidermal squamous cell carcinoma or Bowen disease (pre-cancerous, in-situ squamous cell carcinoma) and actinic keratoses
  • Melanoma in situ

Who gets skin cancer?

Skin cancer most commonly affects older adults but it can also affect younger adults, and rarely, children.

  • Skin cancer tends to affect individuals with fair skin (Fitzpatrick skin phototype I, II and III), although people with darker skin can also develop skin cancer.
  • People who have had a skin cancer have an increased risk of developing other skin cancers.
  • A family history of skin cancer also increases risk.

What causes skin cancer?

The common forms of skin cancer listed above are related to exposure to ultraviolet radiation (from sunlight or tanning beds) and the effects of ageing. Other risks include:

  • Smoking (especially for SCC)
  • Human papillomavirus infection (genital warts), particularly for mucosal sites such as oral mucosa, lips and genitals
  • Immune suppression, for example in patients who have received an organ transplant and are on azathioprine and/or cyclosporin
  • Human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV)
  • Exposure to ionizing radiation
  • Exposure to certain chemicals, such as arsenic and coal tar
  • Longstanding skin disease such as lichen sclerosus, lupus erythematosus, linear porokeratosis or cutaneous tuberculosis
  • A longstanding wound or scar, eg, from thermal burn (a Marjolin ulcer).

What are the clinical features of skin cancer?

Skin cancers generally appear as a lump or nodule, an ulcer, or a changing lesion.

What are the complications of skin cancer?

Skin cancer can usually be treated and cured before complications occur. Signs of an advanced, aggressive or neglected skin cancer may include:

  • Ulceration
  • Bleeding
  • Spread of the tumor to lymph glands and other organs such as liver and brain (metastasis).

How is skin cancer diagnosed?

Skin cancers are generally diagnosed clinically by a dermatologist or family doctor, when learning of an enlarging, crusting or bleeding lesion. The lesion will be inspected carefully, and ideally, a full skin examination will also be conducted.

  • Dermatoscopy (a special magnifying light) may be used to confirm the diagnosis, to detect early skin cancers, and to exclude benign lesions.
  • A partial skin biopsy may be taken in cases of suspected non-melanoma skin cancer to confirm the diagnosis.
  • A complete excision is usually undertaken to make a diagnosis if melanoma is suspected, as partial biopsy can be misleading in melanocytic tumors.
  • The diagnosis is confirmed in the laboratory by a histopathologist. It can take a few days for the report to be issued, or longer if special tests are required.

What is the treatment for skin cancer?

Early treatment of a skin cancer usually cures it. The majority of skin cancers are treated surgically, using local anesthetic to numb the skin. Surgical techniques include:

  • Excision biopsy
  • Mohs surgery

Treatment options for superficial skin cancers include:

  • Minor surgery including curettage and diathermy/cautery and electrosurgery
  • Cryotherapy
  • Topical therapy such as fluorouracil cream, imiquimod cream or ingenol mebutate gel
  • Photodynamic therapy (photosensitizing solution plus light)
  • Lasers

Patients with skin cancer may be at increased risk of developing other skin cancers. They may be advised to:

  • Practice careful sun protection, including regular application of sunscreens
  • Learn and practice self skin examination
  • Have regular skin checks
  • Seek medical attention if they notice any changing or enlarging skin lesions
  • Take nicotinamide (vitamin B3) to reduce the numbers of nonmelanoma skin cancers.


I really was impressed with Dr. Wright. He is extremely knowledgeable and I really recommend him as a fine Dermatologist.

Ronna P.

Dr. Rahman is wonderful. She is very professional, knowledgeable and kind. She takes time to listen. She handled my problem right away. I had been very concerned about it.

Donna B.

What a great experience! I was greeted promptly and courteously by the front desk staff. I was seen almost immediately and treated with care and concern by both Devon and Dr. Wright. I will certainly make KID my home for dermatology and would highly recommend them to everyone.

Penny F.

Dr. Adam Wright took his time to explain the procedure, perform the surgery, and teach how to care for wound afterwards. I have found few physicians take such time with their patients and I am a registered nurse.

Laurie J.

I was very pleased with the efficiency of the staff who handed me some forms, then directed me upstairs where I barely sat down before I was escorted to the exam room. Dr. Wright came in a few minutes later and got down to business in a most pleasant and professional manner. Thank you.

Jerome R.

I had a recurring dermatological condition for several and a series of dermatologists as a result. And yet until I met Dr. Wright, my condition remained undiagnosed and it turned out to be potentially life-threatening. I am so fortunate to have found him and I would not go to anyone else and recommend him often.

Donald B.

Knox Institute of Dermatology is the best! Dr. Adam Wright has always been very courteous and knowledgeable of my care.

Robin P.

Lindsey Best, NP is a great listener and she is sensitive to my daughter’s questions and concerns. Her acne is getting better! Thank you!

Campbell T.

I saw the NP. She was personable, informative and skilled in taking care of my problem. I recommend her and will ask for her if I have need to go again.

Martha M.

Awesome doctor, awesome staff. Definitely would recommend this office to all my friends. Also, my husband is a patient and my daughters will have appointments soon.

Cynthia P.

Dr. Rahman and her nurse were very friendly, professional, and spent an appropriate amount of time with me. I have some benign lesions that I want to have removed at some time in the future and I will return to Knox Institute of Dermatology.

Patricia G.

We had a great experience with Dr Anderson, she was great with my 10 year old son, minimal wait times. Lovely office and staff!

Ian S.

Dr. Elizabeth Anderson is very thorough, knowledgeable, listens, explains the best treatments, and gives options for care.

Mark S.

I had an overall satisfying experience as usual. Short wait time, attractive and clean facilities, courteous and professional yet welcoming staff. Dr. Rahman was thorough and treatment options were well explained.

Larry Troy M.

Dr. Anderson has been my dermatologist for several years, and I continue to be impressed with her dedication, caring attitude, and professionalism. The staff are always friendly and helpful.

M Carol S.

I was called back promptly. Dr. Rahman was careful to make sure I was not experiencing any pain during the procedure.. The staff was friendly, yet very professional; clearly describing follow-up procedures I needed to perform. My insurance initially rejected a prescribed mediation, but the staff worked tirelessly and was successful in getting them to reverse their decision.

Susan P.

Friendly and excellent service! Love the staff, always up beat and happy. Comfortable with staff knowledge and skills. Just a great experience if there is such a thing when visiting a Dr.

Gary C.

Dr. Wright was very caring, answered questions in a way I could understand, listened to what I had to say. I especially appreciate that he doesn’t prescribe medications without careful thought and trying alternatives first.

Jane R.

Dr. Anderson is a knowledgeable, compassionate, and caring doctor. Her nurse, Lori, was equally sensitive to my concerns and she showed the utmost respect and dignity during my medical treatment.

Terrissa D.

They have a very nice and knowledgeable staff. I didn’t have to wait long, and they did a great job of explaining the process and options to me. I highly recommend this practice!

Aaron H.

Top Docs 2018!

March 17th, 2018|0 Comments

Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Anderson and Dr. Quyn Rahman! For the third year in a row, Doctors Anderson and Rahman have been voted as two of Knoxville Tennessee's Cityview Magazine Top Doctors in the Dermatology [...]

Itchy Beards Are No Fun

March 14th, 2018|0 Comments

Men, do you suffer with an itchy beard? There are many causes for itchy beards such as dry skin and hair itself growing. However, did you know that there can be underlying medical reasons [...]

Choosing the Right Dermatologist

March 2nd, 2018|0 Comments

When looking for the right dermatologist, start by determining whether the doctor you're considering is a board-certified dermatologist. If you can't be seen directly by a certified dermatologist, she recommends looking for a practice [...]

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14th, 2018|0 Comments

Are Antioxidants Good For Your Skin?

January 31st, 2018|0 Comments

Antioxidants, such as Vitamins C, E, Phloretin, and Ferulic acid help to reverse DNA damage caused by the sun. They are scientifically proven anti-aging products from which we can all benefit! Skin Ceutical's carries effective products [...]

Facial Exercises Can Make Your Face Look Younger

January 29th, 2018|0 Comments

An interesting new study shows us that strengthening facial muscles through a series of facial exercises can actually make the face look years younger.  The study was published in JAMA Dermatology, but was performed [...]