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Department of Dermatology

Department of Dermatology

Medical Dermatology - Skin Cancer

Medical Dermatology

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The lifetime risk of developing invasive melanoma is on the rise in the United States.  In 1935, for example, the risk in was 1 in 1,500. By 2000 the risk jumped to 1 in 75, and today it has reached 1 in 50. Melanoma is now one of our country’s most prevalent cancers.

Because treatment more challenging for disease that has spread beyond the skin layers, melanoma prevention, screening, and early detection is vital. 

Fortunately, if detected early, melanoma is completely curable. This is why the UC Davis Department of Dermatology is committed to thorough melanoma screening. The department also has a special melanoma clinic geared toward serving the high-risk population. The melanoma clinic is headed by Dr. Barbara Burrall.

Therapies offered for melanoma include:

  • Excisional surgery
  • Mohs micrographic surgery (slow Mohs)


Sentinel lymph node biopsies are conducted by the Department of Surgery. Patients with metastatic disease are seen by Oncology


Basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common forms of cancer in humans and make up approximately 95 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs). Although basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are typically not as aggressive as melanoma, it is vital to detect these early.

Known risk factors for skin cancer include: 

  • Ultraviolet light exposure and sunburns
  • Human papilloma virus (SCC)
  • Cigarette smoking (SCC)
  • Immune suppression (organ transplantation, AIDS)
  • Genetic syndromes (Xeroderma pigmentosum, oculocutaneous albinism, etc.)


Therapies offered for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma include:

  • Electrodessication & curettage (ED&C)
  • Excisional surgery
  • Mohs micrographic surgery
  • Cryosurgery
  • 5-fluorouracil and imiquimod

For more information on our services or to schedule an appointment, please call 916-734-6111 or 800-770-9282.