Skin Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment

We will remove your skin cancer lesions and help you feel more confident in your skin as a result.

We offer diagnosis and treatment for skin cancer…

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once joked on his television show that skin doctors are glorified pimple poppers and they don’t save people’s lives. That was until someone brought up skin cancer and he had to eat his words. Skin Cancer is the most common cancer human acquire and is usually the result of excessive sun exposure. Thankfully we have a whole variety of treatments to address this very common condition.

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Feel confident in your skin
remove potentially life threatening skin cancers


Anywhere on your body


Levulan PDT
Skin Surgery
  • I have had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Crippen for awhile now, he does botox injections for me every 3 months. I was very nervous at first, but the staff and Dr. Crippen made me feel at ease right away. He is a wonderful Doctor, very caring and does a fantastic job. I highly recommend Dr. Crippen. Staff is also excellent!!! Thank you.

    LK Jan 15, 2013
  • Dr. Crippen is an absolute maser with Botox. I’ve had little filler implants done around my face, my ears and lips so far, and each operation came out looking exactly the way I had hoped. Not too puffy, not too thin.

    John Savill Sep 4, 2014
  • This place does the best work of all the skincare clinics I’ve tried in the Vancouver area. I go back periodically for new botox and juvederm injections, and they always make it look brand new and just right every single time. This place has earned my business.

    Greg Monte Aug 26, 2014
  • I was deeply impressed with the work of this clinic. We visited for my teenage daughter after over-the-counter medications had failed her. The acne removal treatment recommended and performed by Doctor Crippen was incredibly effective. We’ve been back for a couple more treatments over the years, and they are all as effective. I wanted to note in particular that he and the staff had a wonderful manner while administering treatment. My daughter typically hates clinical environments but she always felt very comfortable here.

    Phoebe Provenzano Jun 29, 2014
  • This is the only place that I’ve gone for age spots since it opened. I loved how easily I could schedule at short notice, and the commitment the staff showed to making sure that I understood everything I wanted to know. I was treated very well here.

    Yolanda Tighman Sep. 05, 2014
  • I loved how little time it took to set up the chemical peel treatment and to get it. Your clinic made the day very convenient for me, especially since two other clinics had already told me that they couldn’t fit me in that. Your chemical peel was also one of the most effective that I’ve ever had. I’m extremely satisfied.

    SeasonDucharme Sep. 5, 2014
  • I had excellent results with a Coolsculpting operation at this clinic. Dr. Crippen took me through everything I wanted to know before we started, and I was still surprised at how easy it was. It took a little longer than I would have liked for the results to kick in, but I didn’t change anything and I lost weight.

    Ami Hamann Aug 26, 2014
  • My coolsculpting treatment was first performed at this clinic, at the Kelowna location, which might be their only one. I’ve never had coolsculpting performed anywhere else, so I can’t judge the quality compared to other clinics, but it was really effective. The procedure was completely painless and didn’t even feel uncomfortable. The easiest weight I have ever lost.

    Ron Woodhouse Jul 06, 2014
  • Dr Crippen performed the Juvederm treatment in a highly professional, caring and pleasant manner. I found the entire experience to be a comfortable one and despite having some initial reservations/nervousness, both he and his extremely competent staff, made me feel totally at ease and reassured. I cannot speak highly enough of the entire experience of being treated by Dr Crippen and his staff.

    DC Feb 9, 2012
  • I chose DermMedica hoping they would be able to help me with my lips. Dr. Crippen recommended a Juvederm filler, and I’m thrilled with both how easy it was and how great it looks. I was particularly pleased with the end result of the lip filler because I’ve had friends with that swollen look, and I did not want any part of that.

    Harold Elliott Sep. 2, 2014

Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. There are several different types of skin cancer to be aware of:

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma – the most common, slowest growth rate
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma – slow/moderate growth rate
  • Melanoma – less common, more dangerous, rapid growth rate

What Are the Symptoms of Skin Cancer?

The primary symptom of any skin cancer is usually a mole, sore, lump, or growth on the skin. It is important to watch for any pigment changes in sores or bleeding from skin growths, as these are often associated with the development of skin cancer.

A useful method for remembering common symptoms is the ABCD System:

    • Asymmetry: One half of the abnormal area is different from the other half.
    • Borders: The lesion or growth has irregular edges.
    • Color: Color changes from one area to another, with shades of tan, brown, or black (sometimes white, red, or blue). A mixture of colors may appear within one sore.
    • Diameter: The trouble spot is usually (but not always) larger than 6 mm in diameter — about the size of a pencil eraser.

Non Melanoma Skin Cancers:

Basal Cell Carcinoma

  • Appearance of pearly or waxy textured bumps
  • White, light pink, flesh-colored or brown discoloration
  • Raised skin
  • A skin sore that bleeds easily
  • A sore that does not heal
  • Oozing or crusting spots in a sore
  • Appearance of a scar-like sore without having injured the area
  • Irregular blood vessels in or around the spot
  • A sore with a depressed or sunken area in the middle

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

  • Rough, scaly and flat reddish patches/bumps
  • Changes in existing warts, mores or sores
  • A sore that does not heal

What Are the Causes of Skin Cancer?

Regular exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet radiation is the most common inducer of cancerous cells, especially among people with fair skin, blue or green eyes, with red or blond hair. Other risks include:

  • Age
  • Living in sunny climates or at high altitudes
  • Long-term exposure to high intensity sunlight
  • One or more blistering sunburns during childhood
  • Use of tanning services/lotions
  • Family history of melanoma
  • Exposure to cancer causing chemicals, or
  • Weakened immune system

Type specific symptoms:

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma – develops from abnormal cell growth in the top layer of the epidermis or skin
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma – involves changes in cells in the middle layer of the skin known as squamous cells
  • Melanoma – occurs in cells that produce pigment

What Are the Treatments?

Office Treatments:

Surgical Excision

Erbium Laser

Fractional CO2 Laser

Photodynamic Therapy


How Does Photodynamic Therapy Work?

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a light and a light activated medication (photosensitizing medication) that destroys the problem skin tissues.

When the photosensitizing medication is applied to the problem skin tissue and activated by light, the medication produces a toxic reaction that damages the unwanted skin cells. The body will naturally shed these cells producing newer, healthier skin in their place.  Levulan is a type of medication that does just this.  Once the medicine has had time to incubate on the surface of the skin this gives enough time for the abnormal skin cancer cells to take up the medication (normal cells will not in such a short period of time ie., 4 hours) and then when Blue Light activates the medication, this in turn destroys the skin cancer cells.

What Conditions Does Photodynamic Therapy Treat?

What is the Procedure?

At DermMedica, the average Photodynamic Therapy appointment is 5-30 minutes. Patients are scheduled for a quick 10-15 minute appointment early in the day to receive the application of the photosensitizing medication. Patients can then leave the office while the medication incubates and then return in 2-3 hours for the blue light activation treatment.

What is the Recovery Time?

7-10 days – Common effects during recovery of a Photodynamic Therapy treatment include redness, flaking of the skin, tenderness and irritability. Patients are advised to avoid excessive sun exposure and maintain healthy skin moisture as an important part of the recovery process.

What Are the Expected Results?

Younger, softer, smoother skin is the expected result of a Photodynamic Therapy treatment. Best results are achieved after 2-3 sessions and may require more treatments depending on the severity and scope of the condition being treated.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Are Your Skin Cancer Treatments Different from One Another? Your Skin Cancer Page Lists Several Different Treatments. Are Any of Them Particularly Non-Invasive? Will I Be Able to Choose One, or Will You Be Making the Decision?

There are a multitude of treatments for skin cancers because there all sorts of types of skin conditions we treat. These range from medical (topical) treatments, to laser and surgical methods. We will discuss which treatments are available and then which ones are preferable for you.

How Can I Tell the Difference Between Cosmetic Sun Damage and the Dangerous Kind? I Will Be Having Some Sun Damage Treated Soon, but I’m a Little Nervous That It Might Be the Dangerous Kind, and I Want to Know If I Should Take Care of It as Fast as Possible.

The only way to tell if you have some skin cancer issues is to have a physician look at your skin to tell you this. Sun damage is common, we all have it to one degree or another. Prolonged sun exposure can lead to skin changes that are cancerous in nature such as a basal cell carcinoma or a squamous cell carcinoma and only a physician qualified to diagnose these should give you the answer.

What Is the Price to Have Skin Cancer Removed?

Skin cancer removal treatments are generally covered by your provincial insurance plan.  We do however require a referral from your physician to assess the condition initially so we can formulate a treatment plan.

Will a Cancerous Growth Disappear, I.E. Basil Cell Go Away on Its Own?

Basal cell cancers do not spontaneously disappear, they usually need to be surgically excised by a physician.

Can a Plastic Surgeon Diagnose Skin Cancer?

Yes the can, but normally your family doctor can spot them and diagnose them as well.

How Do I Check for Skin Cancer Signs?

The best way to check out a suspicious lesion is to be referred to someone who does this all the time like Dr. Crippen does. On your own, look for any lesions that are not like others you have and are unusual looking.

How Do I Know My Doctor Removed All of My Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Your doctor should be able to tell you after receiving back the pathology report if everything was removed. This is the only way to tell.

Does Basal Cell Carcinoma Still Pose Health Risk If Only Under the Skin?

Yes, basal cell cancers are always a risk and should be excised.

How Long Can I Wait Before Surgical Excision of BCC?

This varies between people but Basal cell cancers normally do not metastasize(spread elsewhere) so a bit of a wait is not unusual nor should it affect the outcome.

Can a Stage 4 Skin Melanoma Heal on It’s Own?

Melanoma should never be left to grow on it’s own, death is the most likely outcome with this option.

How Can I Prevent Skin Cancer?

The best thing you can do is avoid excessive UV exposure, use a good sunscreen when outdoors and get your skin checked regularly if you have any odd or concerning lesions.

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