Types of Skin Cancer
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. All three of these cancers generally require surgical intervention and may need on going surveillance. The best surveillance will be discussed at the time of your review.
Basal cell carcinomas are the most common and least aggressive form of skin cancer, typically developing on the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders, or back. Since they are visible on the outer layer of skin in the form of a reddish patch, shiny bump, open sore, pink growth, or scar-like mark and continue to grow only in their original location rather than spreading elsewhere in the body, surgical removal of the affected area is usually all that is necessary.
Occasionally these can be treated with topical treatment (cream) and if surgery is not possible, radiotherapy may be used.
Squamous cell carcinomas are more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma, and most often result from excessive, chronic exposure to the sun. Some squamous cell carcinomas have the ability to spread to other areas of the body such as the lymph nodes. This typically occurs if the cancer is larger or has been growing, untreated, for a long period of time. Treatment involves surgery to remove the cancer and close monitoring of the lymph nodes in the area. Rarely is radiotherapy required in addition to surgery.
Skin Cancer Reconstruction
Surgical removal of skin cancer requires planning to avoid unnecessary disfigurement. All surgery leaves scars, and these scars change significantly over the first 3months and take 2 years to fully mature. Smoking and genetic factors can influence scar formation but planning scar placement along tension lines can help the scar be as inconspicuous as possible.
Mr Nye can advise whether more complex techniques of local flaps and skin grafts will be required. Reconstructive plastic surgeons are best trained to assess and perform these with the best cosmetic results.