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Skin Cancer

There is a higher incidence of skin cancer in Australia than almost anywhere else in the world, according to the Cancer Council Australia. Skin cancers account for around 80 percent of the newly diagnosed cancers in this country, with as many as 90-95 percent of all cases stemming from unprotected sun exposure. Surgery is usually recommended as the first line of treatment for skin cancer, since it is typically the best chance of cure. If you do need to undergo skin cancer surgery, a plastic surgeon is the best option to remove all of the cancerous cells while preserving your appearance as much as possible.

Types of Skin Cancer
There are three basic types of skin cancer:

Basal Cell Carcinoma
The least invasive type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma usually presents as a round, pearly bump. It might also resemble a pink elevated growth, a sore that does not heal or a lesion that looks like a scar. Basal cells almost never spread past the initial locations, but early detection will ensure surgical removal does not result in disfigurement.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cells are another relatively common type of skin cancer that usually result from sun exposure. These cancers may look like a scaly or crusted area of skin, or a sore that does not heal. Squamous cell carcinoma can occasionally spread to other areas of the body, so early detection is critical for the best possible prognosis.

Melanoma
The most serious type of skin cancer is also the rarest, fortunately. Melanomas are an aggressive cancer that can spread through the body relatively quickly, so early detection is a must to ensure a positive cure rate. Melanomas often resemble a mole that changes in terms of size, symmetry or shape, which makes it imperative that you have any changes to your skin checked right away by a professional experienced in skin cancer diagnosis.

About the Procedure
Most skin cancer removal involves a simple excision technique with stitches. If the skin cancer is particularly large, a skin graft or skin flap may be necessary to close the surgical site. Skin cancer removal can usually be performed as a day surgery under local anaesthetic or in conjunction with intravenous sedation. Dr Thomas will make every effort to minimise post-operative scarring to ensure a satisfactory result. However, the first priority in skin cancer treatment is complete excision of the cancer cells and a skin cancer cure.

See Before and Afters

What to Expect after Surgery
After skin cancer surgery, your skin may be red, painful and slightly swollen. These side effects generally subside within a day or two without the need for anything more than over-the-counter pain medication. It is important to protect the treated area from sun exposure for a number of weeks, to ensure the incision heals fully and leaves minimal scarring behind.

A skin cancer diagnosis can be a frightening diagnosis, leaving some patients fearful and unsure of how to proceed. Dr Thomas understands this is difficult news for any patient and will work with you to determine the best surgical treatment for your specific needs. To learn more about your options in skin cancer removal, contact Dr Thomas on 03 9034 7738.

Dr Damon Thomas