Treatment of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that affects people.  The skin is our largest organ and is most exposed to the elements, particularly the sun.  There are numerous types of skin cancer that exist, some more serious than others.  In addition to oral examinations, people should perform self-examination of their skin and notice if any “spots” are new or changing.  It is also a good idea for people to be examined yearly by a dermatologist or family practitioner for any skin lesions.  The head and neck is one of the most common areas that are affected by skin cancers.  Our surgeons are trained in the detection and treatment of skin cancer of the head and neck, though we also work very closely with dermatologists in the evaluation of skin lesions.  If you notice any new or changing areas of your skin, you should not ignore this and be evaluated.  Often a biopsy will be recommended or sometimes we will remove the lesion in its entirety.  Not uncommonly, what can look like normal skin to the naked eye can contain nests of cancer cells that can only be seen under the microscope.  If this is the case, it is typically recommended that a re-excision be performed.  Following excision of a lesion, and depending on the level of suspicion that skin cancer is present, we may decide to cover the wound created by the removal and wait for the pathologist to tell us if all of the tumor cells have been removed.  Depending on the size of the lesion that was removed, there are a variety of methods to reapproximate the skin ranging from simple to complex and our surgeons are uniquely trained to assure a cosmetic result and minimize the appearance of any scar.

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