Everyone has questions concerning cancer and Michael Sherman, medical director for Contra Costa Oncology, would like to answer yours. Contra Costa Oncology has offices in Walnut Creek, Concord, San Ramon and Rossmoor. If you have questions for Dr. Sherman, e-mail Donna Lynn Rhodes or Martha Ross, editor for Walnut Creek Patch, at email@example.com.
Q: Do the chances of having another basal cell carcinoma increase once you've been diagnosed with one bout? And is the "Mohs" procedure the best way to treat a basal cell carcinoma on the face
A: Many skin cancers, not just melanoma, are caused by sun exposure. Seeing a dermatologist yearly and at the very least your primary care physician for a skin check is recommended. Melanomas, once discovered, must be removed by a surgeon experienced in ‘wide-excision’ as well as knowing when to biopsy a lymph node to detect if and when it has spread. Some skin cancers, like basal cell cancers, are removed by a shaving procedure called Mohs surgery that an experienced dermatologist can perform.
Q: Is one cancer more likely to spread to a specific part of the body more so than another?
A: All cancers have the ability to spread locally, to what are called regional lymph nodes, or to enter the blood stream and grow in other organs. Once a cancer grows in another organ it is generally incurable, with some exceptions. Blood cancers can sometimes be cured even when they have advanced throughout the body. Once a cancer has spread to another organ treatment is aimed at controlling the growth and spread, improving quality of life, and prolonging an individual’s survival.