Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, accounting for nearly half of all cancers diagnosed in the United States. Up to 25% of skin cancers occur on the head and neck, often in visible areas where removal can cause disfigurement. At Alaska Center for Ear, Nose and Throat in Anchorage, our fellowship-trained physicians specialize in tissue-sparing skin cancer removal techniques to minimize cosmetic damage. They handle everything from very small lesions to multi-stage flap reconstructions.

Request a consultation online to meet with one of our board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons to discuss skin cancer treatment, or call us at (907) 279-8800 to schedule an appointment. For our Homer and surrounding patients, please call (907) 235-0310.

Our highly-trained providers look forward to meeting you and answering all of your questions.

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Request a Consultation

Understanding Skin Cancer

Malignant (cancerous) skin lesions can develop in 3 forms:

Basal cell carcinoma -- The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, which usually appears as a fleshy bump, typically on the head, neck, or hands. These are very slow growing tumors, most common in Caucasians.

Squamous cell carcinoma -- Squamous cell carcinoma is also prevalent on areas of the body that get the most sun exposure, such as the nose, the back of the hands and the forehead. These can be nodules or red, scaly patches. Squamous cell tumors can grow quickly, and can spread internally, making them a more serious concern than basal cell cancers.

Melanoma -- The most serious (but thankfully, least common) form of skin cancer is melanoma. If caught in its early stages, melanoma is almost always curable. Melanoma originates from the cells that produce dark pigment, so it can be seen in varying shades from tan to black. It can present as a new lesion, or appear as changes in an existing mole. It can spread quickly, so early diagnosis and treatment are very important. People of all skin colors need to be vigilant when it comes to detecting melanoma.

There are also many types of benign (non-cancerous) skin lesions, such as actinic keratosis, a pre-cancerous lesion caused by sun exposure. Our specialists can biopsy lesions to determine if they are cancerous or not, and they are skilled in surgical removal of lesions.

Treating Skin Cancer

Our specialists are fellowship-trained in the best techniques for surgical removal of lesions, and are particularly skilled in the surgical repair of and reconstruction of facial defects left by skin cancer removal.

Learn more about your options for skin cancer treatment at ACENT.

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Meet Our Physicians

Each of our physicians is board-certified in Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, and Dr. Ellerbe is board-certified in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.