Skin cancers are malignant tumors resulting from the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. In a healthy person, skin cells are regenerated regularly in a controlled manner. In a skin cancer patient, the DNA within the cells of the affected region gets damaged, and they proliferate in an uncontrolled manner, causing rapid mutation and tumor formation.
Skin cancer tumors can appear anywhere on the body but are more common on sun-exposed areas. They can be detected by a dermatologist during a skin exam.
SKIN CANCER SCREENINGS
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.
At least one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime.
More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the country than all other cancers combined.
Cure rates can approach 99% if the skin cancer is detected and treated in the early stages.
Sun damage to the skin is cumulative over a person’s lifetime, so the average risk of skin cancer also increases as we age.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic caused an abrupt drop in preventive cancer screenings performed across the United States. Skin cancer diagnoses in the United States dropped by an average of 46% compared to the same time in 2019. Because of delayed or missed screenings, some cancer cases could present at a later stage with worse outcomes.
Similar to scheduling your annual physical examination with your primary care provider or visiting your dentist for your annual checkup, it is equally important to conduct a self-examination of your skin every month and schedule a professional skin examination with your dermatologist once a year. If you have had skin cancer in the past or if you have a family history of skin cancer, we recommend skin exams once every six months.
COMMON SKIN CANCERS
What should I expect in my first visit?At home - Before the visit We request all new patients to please review the New Patient Consent and Financial and Office Policies forms prior to your first appointment. This will save you time at the clinic. Parents or legal guardians of minors with scheduled appointments are requested to review the Minor Consent form as well. You do not need to print or sign any forms prior to your arrival. Day of Visit - Waiting Area Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your appointment time to allow for the check-in process. Items to bring to your appointment are: Insurance Cards, both Primary and Secondary (if applicable) Active Credit / Debit / Health Savings Account (HSA) card (if applicable), to pay your portion of dues at the conclusion of the visit. At check in, you will complete the patient registration process on our iPad. The same forms that you reviewed prior to your visit will be available on our iPad for you to sign electronically. Information entered will automatically flow into your electronic record and will be stored securely for future appointments. Day of Visit - With our Physician Our routine visits are typically 15 minutes. Note that this is typical with dermatology and other specialties and unlike appointments with a Primary Care Physician (PCP), which last longer since they generally cover a wider set of medical concerns. If surgery is required, we schedule a follow-up surgical visit, which typically takes 30-45 minutes. Return to Top
What is involved in a full body skin exam?Full body skin exams are both a preventive care and a diagnostic service provided at Bluebonnet Dermatology. Our physician will examine your entire skin surface, including areas not usually exposed to sunlight. They may measure the size of moles or freckles. They will look for skin changes and moles or freckles with unusual features such as asymmetry, irregular borders, blotchy color or increasing size. Our physician may also examine suspicious spots using a hand held microscope called a dermatoscope. This is a good time to ask about any spots you are worried about. Our physician can educate you about what to look for, such as any changes in the size, color, borders, or shape of a mole. Typically, a spot that the physician suspects is cancerous will be biopsied and evaluated by an outside pathologist, who confirms (or refutes) the physician's suspicions. If you have a history of skin cancer or numerous moles, it is important to see our physician for regular skin examinations at intervals ranging from three months to annually.
What insurance do you accept?Healthcare costs are skyrocketing and can be unaffordable for many. That is why we have partnered with all the major insurance companies, including: Aetna Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Cigna Coventry Friday Health Plan Galaxy Health Network Health Smart Humana Medicare / Medicare Advantage Optum UMR United Healthcare WellMed And more We accept HMO and PPO plans from these insurance companies. We request patients with HMO insurance to request their PCP to fax us a referral authorization number at 469-472-0861, prior to scheduling an appointment with us. For patients or services not covered by insurance, we offer affordable self-pay rates. If you have any questions, give us a call to confirm if your specific insurance plan is accepted and to avoid any unnecessary delays. Return to Top
Will I be charged for the visit if I have insurance that you accept?It is very likely that you will face a charge even though you have insurance. This is dependent on the type of plan you have with your insurance company and is completely out of our control. Patients are responsible for co-payments, co-insurances and deductibles. Please remember that your health insurance is a contract between you and your insurance company. It is your responsibility to know your health plan benefits, including co-payment amounts, deductibles, co-insurance, and lab contracts. As a service to you, we will submit a claim to your insurance company for all visit charges, but we do not share in the contract between you and your insurance company. You are responsible for any charges not covered by your insurance plan. Any amount not covered by the insured/patient’s insurance is due within 30 days of the date of service. It is the patient’s responsibility to inform this office if your insurance requires pre-certification or pre-authorization of services prior to scheduling of such services. The patient will be responsible for services denied by insurance due to “No Eligibility”, “Non-Covered Service”, “Pre-authorization/Certification Not Obtained”. Statements are released after your insurance pays, denies, or non-payment by your insurance. Please refer to our financial and office policies for more information Return to Top
Could I get a same-day appointment?Yes. We strive to make ourselves available to our patients. We will make every effort to see you for same-day appointments. Please call our front desk at 469-663-8838 so that we can accommodate your needs. Return to Top
Could I cancel my or reschedule appointment?Yes. However, please provide at least 24-hours notice to cancel or reschedule your appointment. We request this so that your appointment slot can be offered to another patient in need of attention. You will be charged a $30 fee if you fail to keep your appointment, cancel or reschedule with less than 24-hour notice. If you fail to keep your surgery appointment, you will be charged a $150 fee. After TWO missed appointments in a row, you will be dismissed from the practice. Please refer to our statement regarding this policy. Return to Top
Where can I learn more about my condition?Providing appropriate medical advice requires understanding each individual's unique situation. This requires a thorough examination, potential diagnosis of your particular condition and knowledge of your medical history. It is not possible to provide this without a consultation with a physician. You can read about our medical, pediatric, skin cancer and cosmetic services, our blog, or visit here for links to medically approved sources of information. We recommend scheduling an appointment with our physician for specific medical advice tailored for your condition. Return to Top
Most common skin cancers start in the upper layer of the skin or the epidermis
Actinic keratoses (singular: actinic kertosis), also known as solar keratoses, are precancerous scaly spots found on sun-damaged skin. They often develop into squamous cell carcinomas.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. Over 2 million Americans are diagnosed with it every year. Patients with BCC often develop multiple primary tumors over time.
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, caused by the uncontrolled growth of melanocytes, skin cells that produce the pigment melanin. It can spread from the skin to other parts of the body and is responsible for the majority of skin cancer deaths.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is a common form of skin cancer that develops in the squamous cells that make up the outer layer of the skin. Although it is usually not life-threatening, it can be aggressive in some cases.