Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. Sadly, patients diagnosed with any form of skin cancer continue to grow. While skin cancer can appear on any area of the body, 80% occurs on the head, face, and neck. These cancer cells can disfigure the skin and can be extremely dangerous.
If you were recently diagnosed with skin cancer or have a spot on your skin you’re concerned about, this guide will answer some of your questions and give you the information you need to know before having a skin cancer procedure.
Types of Skin Cancers
There are three types of skin cancers. If the skin cancer is small, doctors can usually do the surgery as an outpatient, same-day procedure.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- Malignant Melanoma
What to Expect During the Procedure
Doctors will perform two different procedures based on the size, type, and nature of your cancer. If the cancer is small, the doctor will perform a simple excision. There are additional non-surgical methods, including:
- Cryosurgery (freezing the cancer cells)
- Radiation therapy
- Topical chemotherapy
For cancers that are larger or have spread to the lymph nodes, a more complex procedure is necessary to remove your skin cancer. They include:
This procedure involves transferring skin from one area (the donor site) of the body to cover the area of affected skin the doctor had to remove.
This procedure is more complex but produces better cosmetic results. To perform this surgery, doctors take skin, underlying fat cells, blood vessels, and in some cases, muscle tissue near the skin cancer and move it over the infected area that the doctor just removed.
Sometimes doctors will have to perform this procedure in stages because they may need to insert balloons under the skin that is expanded over time to encourage the skin to stretch. That ensures enough flap skin to cover the open areas of the skin.
Pre-Op, Post-Op, and Recovery
Before your procedure, your doctor will schedule an appointment to go over your surgical and non-surgical options. Your doctor will then develop a surgical plan that will produce the best results for which type of cancer you have.
During this consultation ask any questions you or your loved ones have regarding your condition and the most appropriate treatment for you.
After your procedure, the most important thing about skin cancer removal is that you use effective skin protection. Keep the area covered when in direct sunlight, and wear sunblock.
Recovering from your procedure will depend on the type of cancer and procedure you had. For many patients, scarring is minimal. An experienced surgeon can conceal most scars from the procedure in the natural folds and contours on your face.
Cancer Doesn’t Wait and Neither Should You
Dr. Binder and his surgical team understand that you cannot delay treatment when it comes to cancer. Cancer cells can grow quickly and metastasize to other areas of the body. If you have a spot that looks and feels abnormal or changes in size, shape, or appearance, get tested!
If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, time is of the essence. Contact Dr. Binder’s office today to discuss treatment options.