What Is Skin Cancer Removal?
Skin cancer removal, or skin cancer excision, is when a surgeon cuts out a squamous cell carcinoma, a basal cell carcinoma, a melanoma or another type of skin cancer. A plastic surgeon is an excellent choice for this type of procedure because he or she can not only remove the skin cancer but also reconstruct the excision area and minimize scarring.
What Are the Different Types of Skin Cancer?
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Additionally, acitinic keratosis is a scaly growth that sometimes turns into squamous cell carcinoma.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC): The most common type of skin cancer, these growths are usually red or pink and look like open sores or angry welts.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): These skin lesions present as thick, rough patches that look like warts and may bleed.
Melanoma: The least common type of the major types of skin cancer, but also the deadliest and the most likely to spread (metastasize).
What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?
Because many types of skin cancer can mimic the appearance of a mole or freckle, cancerous lesions or tumors can often be overlooked until they are at an advanced stage. New or suspicious-looking moles, freckles and growths should always be examined by a dermatologist and may be sent to a plastic surgeon for removal.
For melanoma specifically, the classic ABCDE’s of melanoma diagnosis are:
- Asymmetry: If you were to split the growth in half, the two sides would not be mirror images of each other
- Border: Melanomas have irregular borders
- Color: Melanomas usually have more than one color, as opposed to benign skin growths
- Diameter: Melanomas are typically bigger than the average mole or freckle
- Evolution: Unlike noncancerous skin growths, melanomas will get bigger over time
What Are the Surgical Options for Skin Cancer Removal?
Skin cancer lesions can be removed in a variety of ways, depending on the type of cancer, its location, its size and how quickly it is caught. Surgical removal of skin cancer is normally very effective–even with melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, the five-year survival rate is more than 90 percent.
A plastic surgeon is the natural choice to remove skin cancer. Plastic surgeons are specially trained to consider the cosmetic effects of surgery and may be better able to preserve tissue and minimize scarring than many other specialists. If reconstructive surgery is necessary, plastic surgeons are the experts.
Plastic surgeons typically work closely with dermatologists for the diagnosis of skin cancers. Sometimes they work with Mohs surgeons, specialized dermatologists that focus on a unique technique for skin cancer removal.
For some cases of skin cancer–especially melanoma–you may need other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation, if your surgeon is concerned that the cancer may return or spread to other parts of the body. If this is the case, your plastic surgeon will work with other cancer specialists to provide you the best possible care.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From Skin Cancer Removal Surgery?
After skin cancer removal surgery, the area will likely be tender or sore. It may take a year or more for signs of an excision to fade, but this can be assisted by a plastic surgeon reconstructing the area. Skin cancer excision will leave a scar, but a skilled plastic surgeon will ensure that the scar is as cosmetically favorable and unobtrusive as possible.
If you are seeking surgery to remove your skin cancer, Dr. Jacobson can help. Dr. Jacobson’s experience and attention to detail make him an excellent choice for skin cancer removal in the Westchester, N.Y. area. Please contact our office to discuss your diagnosis and treatment options.