Skin Cancer Specialist

Purnima Sau, MD -  - Dermatologist

Silver Spring Dermatology

Purnima Sau, MD

Dermatologist & Dermatopathologist located in Silver Spring, MD

The National Cancer Institute expects 87,000 new cases of skin cancer this year. Fortunately, skin cancer is highly treatable when detected early. Purnima Sau, MD, the lead physician at Silver Spring Dermatology in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the Washington DC-Metro area studies and diagnoses skin diseases at the cellular level, treating them quickly and effectively for optimum skin health. A thorough full-body mole check is the first step to preventing melanoma. Schedule your baseline skin cancer screening online or by calling Silver Spring Dermatology today.

Skin Cancer Q & A

What is skin cancer?  

The skin is the body’s largest organ and serves many critical functions. This organ protects you from the sun, infection, and injury while regulating body temperature and storing fat and water.

Skin cancer occurs when cancerous, or malignant, cells form in the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. The names of the three types of skin cancer represent the type of cell where they form.

  • Basal cell carcinoma is a slow-growing skin cancer in the lowest part of the epidermis that usually appears as small white or skin-colored bumps.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma develops in the cells on the surface of the skin and organs as well as the lining of the digestive and respiratory tracts.
  • Melanoma is the rarest and most serious form of cancer, originating in the cells that contain pigment.

Preventing skin cancer begins with knowing and avoiding, when possible, the common risk factors:

  • Exposure to ultraviolet radiation
  • A fair complexion that freckles or burns easily
  • Genetic changes associated with skin cancer
  • Prolonged exposure to artificial or natural sunlight
  • A weakened immune system

What is a skin cancer screening?

Everyone, regardless of their complexion, climate, or lifestyle needs regular skin cancer screenings. During your appointment, Dr. Sau visually inspects the bumps, moles, and spots on your body. She examines each for abnormalities of color, shape, size, or texture, recording their location and description for future reference.

Dr. Sau may biopsy concerning bumps or moles using a scalpel, surgical razor, or punch device. Next, she checks the growth under a microscope to look for cancerous cells. If she finds skin cancer, she recommends and discusses the best course of treatment for your case.

An annual skin cancer screening is critical to your overall health. Each year, Dr. Sau identifies any moles or spots that have changed in appearance since your last appointment.

How is skin cancer treated?

Dr. Sau treats non-cancerous spots caused by sun damage with CUTERA’s xeo® laser. The xeo aesthetic system is a versatile, painless technology that treats individual skin concerns. Using heat from a laser, this innovative technology treats targeted tissue while leaving your skin’s surface undamaged.

Dr. Sau removes moles that pose a cancer risk with a simple surgical procedure. Basic mole removal occurs in the office during a single visit. She refers complex cases to a trusted surgical colleague.

Melanoma treatment depends on many factors:

  • Your age
  • Your overall health
  • The rate at which the cancer cells are dividing
  • The number of places cancer has spread to in your body

Should you receive a melanoma diagnosis, Dr. Sau is on your side and provides the best and most aggressive treatments available.

Book your skin cancer screening online or by calling Silver Spring Dermatology today.