Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer.

There are 3 main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Below is a brief description of each.


Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type and occurs in the basal layer of the top layer of the skin, hence its name.  It is caused by sun exposure and is most often removed with surgery. Fortunately, it is almost never life threating.


Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is caused by any skin cell (also called squamous cells or keratinocytes).  Again, caused by usually a lifetime of sun exposure.  This can spread about 5% of the time to internal organs or lymph nodes so is important to identify and treat as soon as possible.



Melanoma is the most serious, as it has a much higher chance of spreading.  Mole cancer starts from the pigmentation cells in the skin.  It can be hereditary, from the sun, or both.  It can be cured if caught early.  A precursor to melanoma is called a dysplastic nevus.

Refined Dermatology is a leader in skin cancer detection and prevention.  Dr. Swengel specializes in skin cancer. His expert staff perform thorough body checks, taking extra time in looking for any suspicious moles or lesions and which can be difficult to locate in areas such as the scalp and hard to reach body areas in self examinations.

Skin Cancer Referrals and Detection

There are usually two ways that you can arrive at the Mohs unit of Dr. Swengel at Refined Dermatology.

One is from a referral from an outside physician who has detected a skin cancer and feels Mohs is the preferred method of removal.

Second is when patients have concerns about skin lesion and a biopsy determines it to be skin cancer.

At Refined Dermatology, Dr. Swengel has coached the nurses, estheticians and staff to always be alert to a skin growth that doesn’t “look right” when they are treating you for other things. They are not licensed physicians, but you would be amazed at the number of skin cancers they have brought to Dr. Swengel’s attention over the years.

Dr. Swengel and his staff of skin experts strongly encourage annual full body skin exams for all patients. If you or a loved one have noticed a significant change in or a new appearance of a growth on the body we encourage you to visit us sooner.

Biopsies are quick, easy and virtually painless, so fear of that should never keep someone from coming in to have a skin growth checked.


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