In the United States, the most common form of cancer is skin cancer. Luckily, many skin cancers are relatively easy to treat and cure when compared to other cancers, especially when caught early.
In many cases, a plastic surgeon is able to remove the skin cancer from the face or body, removing the cancer and fixing the defect in such a way as to get the best aesthetic result. Plastic surgeons differ from dermatologists in that they have been specially trained to leave the defect as imperceptible as possible. Sometimes, if the defect is too large to close, the plastic surgeon will reconstruct the area using skin from another area of the body.
With more than 500,000 new cases of skin cancer each year, it is absolutely vital that people know the signs of skin cancer so they know when to see a doctor. There are several risk factors to developing skin cancer.
Risk factors for skin cancer include having fair skin, light-colored eyes/hair, spending prolonged time in the sun without protection, tanning, smoking, having several moles on your body of various sizes, or a family history of skin cancer. If you fall in any of these categories, you should see your doctor on a yearly basis for a skin check to make sure everything looks good and consistent.
Carcinomas will vary in appearance, so always keep an eye on various moles and spots on your body so that you notice when something changes. Malignant melanomas can be identified by a change in the size, color, shape, or new growth of a mole.
If your primary care doctor believes you may have skin cancer, the first step is removal of the lesion. The Plastic Surgery Group performs skin cancer treatment on the delicate skin of the face to ensure a safe procedure and optimal results. It is important to note that a diagnosis is not typically made until the mole or area of concern is removed and can be sent for testing to confirm one way or another.
The plastic surgeon will make a small excision to remove the layer of skin affected after applying a local anesthetic. This process may require further reconstruction to avoid a scar, as the skin on the face is very fragile.
Skin cancer treatment on the body works the same way as the face. The plastic surgeon will apply a local anesthetic to the area to ensure the patient does not feel pain, and then will make an incision to remove the mole. This specimen will then be sent for testing.
In some cases of extensive melanoma, it may become apparent that a more aggressive measure must be taken, especially if it has spread to other areas of the body or lymph glands. At this point, the patient will need to go through further cancer treatment.
One of the main benefits of having a melanoma removed from the body and/or face by a board certified plastic surgeon is that a plastic surgeon will work with extra caution to preserve the underlying tissues and reduce the chance of scarring. Plastic surgeons spend years perfecting this process, and will be able to send the specimen off for testing just the same. Contact the Plastic Surgery Group today to learn more about our skin cancer treatment for the face and body.