There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Australia. We provide complete care to remove and reconstruct areas affected by skin cancer.
Skin cancer removal & reconstruction
Almost half of the adult population will have at least one form of skin cancer during their life. We are determined to help prevent and treat skin cancer for our sun lovers here in Melbourne.
Types of skin cancer
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. All three types generally require some form of surgical intervention. Ongoing surveillance is also needed to ensure these cancers do not progress.
More than ninety-five percent of skin cancers can be cured if treated early. Basal cell carcinomas are the most common and least aggressive form of skin cancer. They continue to grow only in their original location. BCCs do not tend to spread to elsewhere in the body. Therefore, once the cancer has been completely removed surgically, no further treatment is required.
Squamous cell carcinomas are slightly more aggressive. They may occur for reasons other than excessive sun exposure. This includes chronic exposure to certain chemicals. Also, in the presence of a chronic wound or scar. Some SCC’s have the ability to spread elsewhere in the body. This may include the lymph glands and other body organs. They tend to occur more frequently in larger cancers, and those that have been present for a longer period of time. Treatment of these cancers involves complete surgical removal of the cancer. Monitoring of the lymph glands in the area will also be required.
Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. However, it is also the least common. Melanomas can spread to the surrounding lymph glands and other body organs if not detected early. Treatment requires complete surgical removal of the cancer. Removal of a rim of normal skin from around the melanoma is also required. The amount of normal skin that needs to be removed is determined by how thick the melanoma has become. Sometimes this is only known after the first operation to remove the melanoma. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to have a second operation.
Other tests may be arranged to investigate whether the cancer has spread elsewhere. These can include sampling of the lymph glands, a chest x-ray, blood tests and CT scans. If the melanoma is already advanced, or has spread to other areas, further treatment may be considered. This can include removal of the affected lymph glands, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy. Close follow-up of all patients with a melanoma is essential. This will happen for the first few years in order to detect recurrence or spread of the cancer.
What is involved during skin cancer treatment?
Removal of most skin cancers can be performed under local anaesthetic. We can do this in our Melbourne practice. After skin cancer removal it is not uncommon to close the wound with sutures. A straight-line scar will be left in the process. However, in certain areas of the body, and in the case of large skin cancers, this is not possible and a skin graft or local skin flap may be required. If this is the case, then the procedure may be performed in a hospital setting. Therefore, you may require an overnight admission.
Skin cancer removal Melbourne
A skin graft is a piece of skin that is removed from one part of the body. It is then moved to another to allow closure of a wound. The site that the skin was taken from is usually one with spare skin. It can then be closed directly with sutures. Sometimes a skin graft will not give a very good cosmetic result. In this case, a local skin flap may be chosen as a better option by your surgeon. This involves moving skin around from an area adjacent to the skin cancer to allow closure of the wound. The advantage of this technique is that it uses skin that is most similar to that removed with the skin cancer. This provides a very good colour, contour and texture match. The disadvantage is that you will end up with more scarring. Mr Morgan will outline the particular requirements in your situation. His surgical plan will be discussed with you prior to proceeding with treatment.