Skin cancer is, in essence, the out-of-control growth of abnormal skin cells. Skin cancers most often develop due to mutations due to unrepaired DNA damage from UV rays. These mutations can trigger skin cells, making them multiply rapidly and lead to malignant tumors. The three major types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

What are the risk factors for skin cancer?

Factors that may mean a higher risk for skin cancer include the following:

  • Fair skin
  • Moles
  • Precancerous skin lesions
  • History of sunburns
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Living in a high-altitude or sunny climate
  • Family or personal history of skin cancer
  • Weakened immune system Exposure to radiation
  • Exposure to certain substances, such as arsenic

What are the different types of skin cancer?

There are many forms of skin cancer. Some are quite deadly if not treated in the early stages. Others spread more slowly and are less likely to be fatal; however, they can be disfiguring. The types of skin cancer include:

  • Basal cell carcinoma: This type of skin cancer arises from the skin’s basal cells in epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) and is caused by UV radiation from sun or tanning machines. It is the most common form of skin cancer.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma: The second-most common form of skin cancer, this type arises from the squamous cells in epidermis and is caused by long-term exposure to UV radiation from the sun.
  • Melanoma: The most dangerous form of skin cancer, melanoma arises from melanocytes. It is dangerous because it can spread to the vital organs and become life-threatening if not caught and treated early. 

The cure rate for skin cancer is nearly 100% if it is caught early and treated accordingly.

What Treatments are Available?

While MOHS surgery is the best treatment option for skin cancer, there are several to choose from:

Squamous cell carcinoma: Cryosurgery, curettage, ED&C, excision, laser treatment, MOHS surgery, photodynamic therapy, radiation therapy

Basal cell carcinoma: Cryosurgery, curettage, ED&C, excision, laser treatment, MOHS surgery, topical treatments, photodynamic therapy, radiation therapy

Melanoma: Excision or MOHS surgery (early on). When the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes (stage 3) or distant (4), treatments include immunotherapies, oral medications, and/or radiation

How do I perform self-check between skin cancer screenings?

Between professional screenings, you should monitor your skin for changes or new lesions. The most common signs of skin cancer can be remembered as “ABCDE.” When examining a mole or other lesion, ask yourself if any of the following apply:

  • Asymmetrical in shape
  • Bordered by jagged or rough edges
  • Colored unusually or changing shades
  • Diameter larger than a pencil eraser
  • Evolving in size, shape, or any other way


The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that approximately 20% of all Americans will develop at least one skin cancer over a lifetime. Dr. Ostad encourages patients at his office to perform regular self-checks and undergo professional skin cancer screenings regularly. Often, the trained eye of a dermatologist can identify skin cancers long before you may notice anything, making regular screenings essential. For most patients, annual screening is sufficient. However, if you are at high risk or have a history of skin cancer, Dr. Ostad may recommend more frequent screenings.


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Before & After


Generally, skin cancer screening in New York is simple and noninvasive. If Dr. Ostad identifies a suspicious lesion, it will be biopsied. This involves removing a tiny tissue sample and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. If it is diagnosed as cancerous, treatment will be scheduled immediately. Dr. Ostad performs MOHS micrographic surgery, a precise skin cancer treatment in which cancerous cells are removed one layer at a time. MOHS has the highest cure rate and causes the least cosmetic damage.


In addition to his outstanding skills, Dr. Ostad has a compassionate, caring demeanor with a warm, pleasant manner, holding great value in his patients’ trust of his skills and vein treatments.

Dr. Ariel Ostad

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes skin cancer?

Skin cancer develops when mutations occur in the DNA of skin cells. These mutations cause the cells to grow out of control and form into a mass of cancer cells. Much of the skin DNA damage leading to skin cancer is a result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight or tanning beds. However, the fact that skin cancers can develop on skin not ordinarily exposed to sunlight indicates that other factors, such as exposure to toxic substances or conditions that weaken the immune system, may also be contributing factors.

Dr. Ariel Ostad has seen patients for this service from all over the tri-state area, including Manhattan, Midtown, the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, Brooklyn, New York City, the Bronx, Harlem, Astoria, Queens, Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, and more. If you are interested in any of the services offered at the Office of Dr. Ariel Ostad, please contact us for more information.

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