Skin Cancer Removal

Skin cancer is the growth of abnormal cells that invade and destroy other associated skin cells. Skin cancer is considered to be caused in many instances by over exposure to sun. There is strong academic thinking to suggest that intense exposure to sunlight causing severe sunburn which may significantly increase the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. With the most commonly affected areas surrounding the face and ears, skin cancer of this type usually occurs in people over forty

Melanoma is a dark coloured, normally malignant tumour; a result of a skin cell capable of creating the pigment melanin. Non-melanoma cancer most often originates from the outer skin surface.

The cells that make up a cancerous growth originate from one cell that multiplies uncontrollably, resulting in the formation of a tumour. Exposure to sunlight is commonly thought to be the main cause of almost all cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed.

Procedure

In order to diagnose skin cancer, physicians must remove, either wholly or partly, the growth and microscopically examine its cells. It can be treated by a variety of measures, depending on the type of cancer, its stage of growth, and its situation on the body.
Most skin cancers can be removed surgically, by a surgeon. If the cancer is small, the treatment can be administered in a relatively straightforward manner, under local anaesthesia. The procedure may be a direct excision, which usually leaves a minor, near invisible scar. Alternatively, curettage and desiccation may be performed. In this treatment, the cancer is removed with an electric current to inhibit bleeding and destroy remaining cancer cells. This however leaves a slightly larger, white scar. In either case, the risks of the surgery are comparatively low.

If the cancer is more serious or if it has spread to the lymph glands or elsewhere in the body, more serious surgery may be necessary. Other applicable treatments for skin cancer include cryosurgery, radiation therapy, topical chemotherapy and Mohs surgery, a specialist procedure in which the cancer is removed one layer at a time.

Preparation

Before undergoing skin cancer removal surgery consideration and preparation are vital elements. Those who are considering the procedure should clearly outline their targets, and openly discuss this with their consultant. Those who are considering the procedure should be aware of the risks and complications that can arise, as well as the practical changes that are needed prior to surgery. Patients are required to stop taking medication which alters blood viscosity; including aspirin, birth control and hormone correction. In preparation of surgery it is also highly recommended that patients avoid smoking, to enhance recovery.

After the operation

Following surgery the doctor shall schedule regular follow-up visits to make sure the cancer hasn't recurred. It is largely up to the patient to reduce their risks by avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. during the summer months. They should also avoid ultraviolet rays which pass right through water and clouds, and reflect off sand and snow.

Recovering

Patients should also avoid going out for an extended period of time, wear protective clothing such as wide brimmed hats and long sleeves. On any exposed skin, use a sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor). Patients are also recommended to check their skin regularly and consult a surgeon as soon as possible should the note anything unusual.

It is recommended that patients regularly check for recurrence. In the event of a recurrence, this must be reported to the specialist immediately for additional treatment.

Risks and complications

For the large majority of patients who under go skin cancer removal, the results will be a success. Despite this, risks remain and complications can occur, as is the case for almost all surgical procedures

  • Treatment may not be completely successful, causing recurrences and the need for further treatment
  • There is also a risk of permanent scarring.
  • In a small number of cases, patients have also reported some depigmentation

By nature, all medical procedures carry an element of risk. While the majority of patients do not experience any complication during our Skin Cancer Removal procedures, before embarking on any medical procedure, it is advisable to consult fully with the McLean Academy so that our qualified staff can suitably discuss any risk or concerns that your procedure may pose.

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Contact Information

The McLean Academy

Neil R. McLean ( MD FRCS )

Telephone: 0191 284 3719

Email: reception@mcleanacademy.com

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