Skin Cancer



Skin Cancer

Get Diagnosis and Treatment for This Common Disease in Denver

Skin is the body’s largest organ. As such, it is routinely exposed to a number of factors that can impact its health. Current data shows that as many as one in five Americans will, at some point in his or her life, experience skin cancer. Denver’s AboutSkin Dermatology team (located in the Denver Tech Center and Lone Tree areas) takes care of hundreds of skin cancer patients a year. While we live in beautiful Colorado, our high altitude, number of days of sunshine (more than 300 a year), and outdoor lifestyles have contributed to a high incidence of skin cancer— higher than in many other regions of the United States and world. Note that although exposure to ultraviolet radiation is a significant risk factor in the disease’s development, genetics and other variables also play a part.

Skin cancer is a term that can evoke feelings of anxiety in many people. But the truth of the matter is that when diagnosed early and with selection of the right treatment, skin cancer can be highly treatable. Although a person may practice diligent sun protection, it is beneficial to visit the AboutSkin Dermatology office for skin checks at least once every year (or more frequently if there is a personal or family history of skin cancer). Our physicians are Board-Certified Dermatologists, and thus are trained on the nuances of what to look for and can employ technology such as a dermatoscope (a non-invasive, handheld imaging device) to aid in diagnosing skin cancer.

Learn about the three most common forms of skin cancer at Denver's AboutSkin Dermatology, as well as prevention strategies.
We regularly work with patients to identify and treat basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), or melanoma—the three most common forms of skin cancer—at Denver’s AboutSkin Dermatology. BCC is the most common and least aggressive of the three, but should still be identified and removed as soon as possible. SCC is less common, but more likely to invade surrounding tissue. Melanoma is the rarest of the three, but is fast-moving and can be fatal if it metastasizes. Treatment is possible, especially if caught early, but the best approach is prevention via sun protection with topical products, physical blocks, and avoiding UV exposure in the first place.

Skin Cancer Treatment Options

An examination may include a biopsy (sampling of the skin) to determine whether skin cancer is present in the tested tissue. If this test confirms the presence of cancer cells, treatment will depend on the time of cancer, its location on the body, its extent of growth, the current health of the patient, and more.

Mohs micrographic surgery is a highly effective treatment for both basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). This specialized technique takes thin layers of tissue, which are then thoroughly examined. The process repeats until no traces of residual skin cancer are seen. Because of the nature of melanoma, different treatments are recommended for that form of skin cancer.

Types of Skin Cancer

There are many types of skin cancer, but three are responsible for more than 99 percent of all diagnoses: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. To understand these types, it is helpful to first learn about skin cells.

The outermost layer of skin is known as epidermis (literally “upon the skin”). The cells in the lowest part of this surface layer are basal cells. In the middle are squamous cells, which are eventually shed and replaced. Melanocytes are located in areas of the epidermis and produce pigment (including in response to sun exposure).

Ultraviolet radiation (from sun exposure and tanning salons) can damage the epidermis, leading to skin cancer.

Basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) are the most common type of skin cancer tumors. Basal cell carcinoma tends to be slower growing but should still be treated expeditiously. Given time, basal cell carcinoma can grow into adjacent tissues, including muscles, nerves, and even bone.

Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are the second most common type of skin cancer. Like basal cell carcinoma, SCCs are associated with sun-exposed areas of the body. But SCCs are more likely to spread, potentially to deeper tissue planes below the skin or regional areas, or even cause distant metastases.

Sometimes resembling common moles, melanomas are a more aggressive type of skin cancer that can readily spread not just to neighboring areas, but throughout the body. Every hour, one American dies from a melanoma in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential.

Note that many people develop actinic keratoses (AKs) in sun-exposed areas. These are rough and scaly lesions that are not cancerous, but are considered to be “precancer.” Although they may heal on their own, a medical dermatology specialist can examine them to determine an effective treatment regimen for the patient.

Skin Cancer Prevention is the Best Choice

Modern dermatologists have highly sophisticated, effective treatments. Many of these treatment modalities were unavailable several years ago, making skin cancer treatment highly successful at this point. That said, prevention is the best strategy. The AboutSkin Dermatology team of Board-Certified Dermatologists advises everyone to wear a physical block barrier sunscreen when going outside, whether the skies are sunny or cloudy. Avoiding peak late-morning and early-afternoon hours can minimize exposure to harmful rays.

Men and women alike are also strongly encouraged to perform monthly routine self-checks in order to spot potential signs of skin cancer. Lesions that appear suspicious can be shown to a dermatologist for closer scrutiny. Call and schedule a “spot check” right away for concerning lesions, and schedule a full-skin check at least once a year for an overall surveillance (or more frequently if you have a personal or family history of skin cancer). In general, watch for an alphabetic list of warning signs:

  • A for Asymmetry: Moles that don’t have two halves that are mirror images of each other are suspicious.
  • B for Border Irregularity: A clearly defined edge is preferable, while a hazy or scalloped perimeter should be examined.
  • C for Color: Benign moles are typically uniform in color, so multicolored lesions warrant investigation.
  • D for Diameter: Any raised spot larger than a pencil eraser in diameter should be shown to a dermatologist, but even smaller spots that are irregular should still be seen.
  • E for Evolving: A mole or lesion that grows or changes in appearance over time—especially rapidly—is cause for a consultation.

Even if no concerning lesions are present, it is a good idea to schedule annual visits with a dermatologist, who will examine the skin, hair, nails, and more for signs of disease.





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What our patients say about us


Dr. Cohen is 'a derm's derm' -- his published research and opinions are sought after by other dermatologists obsessed with the latest innovations in cosmetic dermatology, including lasers, neuromodulators, and fillers. He's also trained many of these derms. Dr. Cohen is arguably one of the best in the U.S., though he's not flashy or self promoting --just intensely focused on achieving elegant, successful results. I stumbled into his practice quite by accident, and could not be happier. His PA Christina is also phenomenal.


I am so pleased with the high level of expertise and care I have received from Dr. Cohen, Dr. Ho and his medical assistants Cristina and Emily. From the Mohs surgery, to a multitude of lasers, to skin checks; the doctors  have been extremely conscientious and strive to have a relationship with their patients.  I am thrilled with the results of my cosmetic procedures and surgery.  In addition, They are kind and very humble providers. It truly is an honor to be a patient of Dr. Cohen and to be a valued patient of his medical practice. Truly the best in the country.. and The World. Thank you Dr. Cohen and Dr. Ho and staff!

Chris J

Have been a patient of Dr. Stoler for a long time. She knows me well and takes excellent care of my skin. Also gives good and appropriate advice!

Judy Saul

Dr. Joel Cohen was highly recommended to me by several other dermatologists for his expertise in laser technology. I was not only impressed with the treatment I received from Dr. Cohen, but also his wonderful, highly skilled staff. The entire experience was top notch!

Linda Aibel

This is the BEST dermatology and cosmetic location you will ever find! Truthfully they give all the attention and care anyone could ask for. I’m always blown away at their kindness and their service. Doctor Jade Fettig always takes her time to talk to me, answer any questions and recommend the best treatment. Highly highly recommend AboutSkinDermatology. You will love it there too guaranteed! =)

Roberta Rachkovsky

Dr. Stoler is the best!

Karen Maxwell

I have been a patient of About Skin Dermatology for over 12 years. Everyone that I have ever encountered at this practice has been knowledgeable and very kind. I see both Dr. Ho and Dr. Cohen. My skin has not looked this good in years. My whole family goes to this practice. I would highly recommend About Skin Dermatology.


Dr Fettig was great- took her time with me and answered my questions. She has a nice bedside manner and good sense of humor.

Cindy Wells

I used Dr. Cohen for a Mohs procedure. He is fellowship trained and extremely competent. Dr. Cohen remained involved in my follow up care with a plastic surgeon and was always readily accessible and available to address my concerns. Both he and the office staff are caring and committed to providing the highest level of professional service. I highly recommend Dr. Cohen. I think it’s very nice.

Richard Z

I have been impressed with my Botox treatment from Dr Cohen at AboutSkin Dermatology. He and his staff are incredibly professional and pleasant. Maddie is always flexible and accommodating with my hectic schedule. Dr. Cohen takes time and a genuine interest in his patients. I highly recommend him for any cosmetic procedures.

Kendra W

Dr Stephen Ho is a fantastic dermatologist. He takes the time to listen to concerns and he patiently and thoroughly explains procedures and diagnostics.

Ben Reeves

Dr. Jade Fettig is so kind, thoughtful, and good at what she does. You can tell she really cares about her patients and makes what could be awkward check-ups into comfortable, and pleasant experiences.The office lounge is clean, updated and really relaxing. Absolutely recommend her as a provider!

Carrie Konczal

Dr Rothstein is amazing. Very thorough during her exams and explains everything as she goes along. The staff is great as well! Best physician I have in the Denver area.

Philip Yost

Dr. Joel Cohen is a superbly skilled dermatologist as well as a most caring doctor who always put his patient's best interest first and foremost

Diana Lee