With our sunny climate and outdoor lifestyle, Australians face a heightened risk of skin cancer, making awareness and understanding of treatment options critically important. Skin cancer excision represents a direct, effective method for removing cancerous cells from the skin. It offers a chance to overcome a disease that profoundly affects so many lives.
In Australia, skin cancer is a major health issue, driven in part by our high UV exposure rates which contribute to one of the highest incidences of skin cancer globally. As such, procedures like skin cancer excision are not merely medical routines; they are essential components of our public health strategies. This approach underlines the necessity of not only treating skin cancer but also understanding the role that excision plays in providing a path to recovery and continued health in a country so intimately acquainted with the sun’s impacts.
What is Skin Cancer Excision?
Skin cancer excision is a surgical technique primarily aimed at removing cancerous cells from the skin. The process involves the surgical removal of the cancerous tissue, along with a margin of surrounding healthy tissue. This is done to ensure the complete eradication of cancer cells, thereby reducing the risk of recurrence.
The procedure is most commonly utilised for treating basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the two most common types of skin cancer. It is also sometimes used for melanoma, especially in its early stages. The goal of skin cancer excision is not just to remove the cancerous growth but also to preserve as much of the surrounding healthy skin as possible. This balance is crucial for both medical and cosmetic reasons, especially when dealing with visible areas of the body.
Skin cancer excision is a testament to how far medical science has come in understanding and treating skin cancer. The procedure has evolved over the years, with advances in surgical techniques leading to higher success rates and reduced scarring. It’s a procedure that embodies the intersection of skill, precision, and care to carefully remove the cancerous tissue while minimising damage to surrounding healthy skin.
In Australia’s healthcare landscape, skin cancer excision is a common and well-established procedure. It is often performed in an office or outpatient clinic and typically does not require hospitalisation. The use of local anaesthesia makes it a relatively comfortable experience for patients, who are awake during the procedure but do not feel any pain in the treated area.
Who Needs Skin Cancer Excision
Skin cancer excision, a critical surgical procedure, is not universally applicable to all skin cancer cases. Its appropriateness depends on several factors, including the type, size, location of the skin cancer, and the patient’s overall health.
Typically, candidates for skin cancer excision are individuals diagnosed with localised skin cancer – meaning the cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of the body. This procedure is particularly recommended for treating basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the most common forms of skin cancer in Australia. In certain cases, it’s also used for treating melanoma, particularly when detected early.
The decision to undergo skin cancer excision is influenced by various factors. The size and location of the cancerous lesion are crucial considerations. Lesions on certain parts of the body, like the face or hands, might require a more delicate surgical approach, considering both the removal of cancer and cosmetic outcomes. The depth and aggressiveness of the cancer also play a role in determining if excision is the best course of action.
Another critical factor is the patient’s overall health and medical history. Those with underlying health conditions or a history of skin cancer may require a different approach to treatment. It’s also essential to consider the patient’s age and skin type, as these can influence both the risk of complications and the healing process.
Benefits of the Skin Cancer Excision Procedure
Skin cancer excision, beyond being a medical procedure, offers a multitude of benefits, particularly in a sun-drenched country like Australia where skin cancer is a common concern.
The primary benefit of skin cancer excision is the effective removal of cancerous tissue. This procedure is designed to excise not only the visible cancer but also a margin of potentially affected tissue around it, significantly reducing the risk of recurrence. The precision of this method makes it highly effective, especially for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
Another significant advantage is the procedure’s straightforward nature. Skin cancer excision is usually performed under local anaesthesia, meaning patients remain awake but feel no pain in the treated area. This simplicity minimises the risks associated with general anaesthesia and allows for a quicker, more comfortable recovery. It’s an outpatient procedure, typically completed in a doctor’s office or clinic, eliminating the need for hospital stays.
The cosmetic outcomes of skin cancer excision are also a notable benefit. Dr BishSolimanaims to reduce scarring and preserve the appearance of the skin, an aspect particularly important for lesions on visible areas like the face.
Furthermore, skin cancer excision provides valuable diagnostic information. The excised tissue is sent for pathological examination, offering insights into the type and extent of the cancer. This information can guide further treatment if necessary and helps in monitoring for recurrence.
Before any surgical procedure, you will need some personalised guidance from your surgeon, as well as the time to discuss your personal needs and desired results to create an appropriate treatment plan for you.
During your consultation, you will receive in-depth information and advice about your individually tailored procedure, including preparation and recovery instructions and what to expect before the procedure, on the day of your procedure and after surgery.
Dr Bish Soliman will need to assess whether or not you are a suitable candidate for the procedure. You may be asked about your health history, history of past surgical procedures, and lifestyle factors to determine if the procedure is right for you. Your consultation will also provide you with a personalised quote, taking all of your personalised procedure steps into consideration, so that you can understand the costs of your procedure.
The decision to undergo skin cancer excision is personal, so having a thorough consultation beforehand will help you to make an informed decision and feel comfortable with your surgeon, ensuring that you have a mutual understanding of your desired results for the procedure.
You can book your consultation at our Sydney or North Shore locations if you would like to discuss undergoing Skin Cancer Excision .
Types of Skin Cancer Excision Procedures
Skin cancer excision, a critical tool in the battle against skin cancer, is not a one-size-fits-all procedure. Depending on the type, size, location, and depth of the skin cancer, different excision methods may be employed:
- Simple Excision: The most common form of skin cancer excision, simple excision involves cutting out the cancerous tissue and a margin of healthy skin around it. This margin is taken as a precaution to ensure all cancerous cells are removed. Simple excision is typically used for smaller, less aggressive cancers and is often performed in a doctor’s office under local anaesthesia.
- Wide Local Excision: Used primarily for larger or more invasive cancers, wide local excision involves removing a more considerable amount of surrounding healthy tissue than simple excision. This method is particularly used for melanomas or cancers that have a higher risk of spreading. The size of the margin taken depends on the cancer’s characteristics and location.
- Mohs Micrographic Surgery: A specialised form of skin cancer excision, Mohs surgery is used primarily for cancers in cosmetically sensitive areas, like the face, or for cancers that have recurred after previous treatment. The procedure involves removing the cancer layer by layer, with each layer being examined under a microscope until no cancer cells are detected. This technique allows for the precise removal of cancerous tissue while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible.
- Curettage and Electrodesiccation: This method is sometimes used for small, superficial cancers. It involves scraping away the cancerous tissue with a curette (a sharp, ring-shaped instrument) and then using an electric needle to destroy any remaining cancer cells. This method is less invasive but may not be suitable for all types of skin cancers.
- Cryosurgery: For very superficial skin cancers, cryosurgery might be used. This involves freezing the cancerous cells with liquid nitrogen. It’s a less common method and typically used for pre-cancerous growths or very thin cancers.
Each of these methods has its specific indications, advantages, and limitations. The choice of procedure depends on multiple factors, including the type of skin cancer, its size and depth, its location on the body, the patient’s overall health, and previous skin cancer history. The decision is made collaboratively by the patient and Dr BishSoliman, ensuring the chosen method aligns with the patient’s medical needs and personal circumstances.
How is the Skin Cancer ExcisionProcedure Performed
Skin cancer excision, involves several steps designed to ensure the complete removal of cancerous tissue:
Before the Procedure:
- Consultation: The journey begins with a consultation with Dr BishSoliman. During this meeting, Dr Solimanwill examine the skin cancer, discuss the patient’s medical history, and recommend the most appropriate type of excision.
- Preparation: Patients may be advised to avoid certain medications or supplements that could increase bleeding risk. Instructions on eating and drinking before the surgery will also be provided, especially if sedation is to be used.
During the Procedure:
- Local Anaesthesia: Skin cancer excisions are typically performed under local anaesthesia, which numbs the treatment area. This means patients are awake during the procedure but won’t feel any pain.
- Excision: Depending on the type of excision, Dr Soliman will remove the cancerous tissue along with a margin of healthy skin. The size of the margin depends on the cancer type and its characteristics.
- Closure and Dressing: After the cancer is removed, the wound is closed with stitches. The method of closure depends on the size and location of the excision. The area is then dressed to protect the wound and promote healing.
After the Procedure:
- Pathological Examination: The excised tissue is sent to a laboratory for pathological examination. This analysis confirms that all cancerous cells have been removed and provides additional information about the cancer.
- Recovery Instructions: Patients receive detailed instructions for caring for the wound, including how to keep it clean and dry, and when to return for a follow-up or stitch removal.
The procedure’s duration varies depending on the cancer’s size and location, but it takes between 30 minutes to an hour. In most cases, patients can go home the same day.
Recovery after Skin Cancer Excision Procedure
The recovery period following a skin cancer excision is an essential phase, where patients can expect to heal and gradually return to their daily routines.
- Wound Care: Immediately after the procedure, patients are given detailed instructions on how to care for the wound. This includes keeping the area clean and dry, changing dressings as advised, and applying any prescribed ointments or creams.
- Pain Management: Some discomfort or pain around the surgery site is common, but it’s usually mild and manageable. Over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen can be taken to ease discomfort. However, it’s important to follow Dr Soliman’s advice on which medications are safe to use.
- Initial Healing: The first few days post-surgery are crucial for healing. Patients may experience swelling, redness, or bruising around the area, which gradually subsides.
- Stitch Removal: If non-dissolvable stitches are used, they are removed within a week or two post-surgery, depending on the location and size of the excision.
- Activity Restrictions: Patients are often advised to avoid strenuous activities or heavy lifting for a short period to prevent strain on the surgical site and promote healing.
Long-term Care and Monitoring:
- Scar Care: Scarring is a natural part of the healing process. The size and visibility of the scar depend on the excision’s size and location. Over time, most scars fade significantly.
- Follow-up Appointments: Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor the healing process and check for any signs of skin cancer recurrence.
- Sun Protection: Protecting the skin from the sun is vital, especially post-surgery. Using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding peak sun hours are critical steps in preventing further skin damage and reducing the risk of new skin cancers.
- The recovery time varies depending on the size and location of the excision and the patient’s overall health. Most patients resume normal activities within a few days, but complete healing of the wound can take a couple of weeks.
Medical References about Skin Cancer Excision
- Basal Cell Carcinoma: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment – Cleveland Clinic
- Treatment – Skin cancer (non-melanoma) – NHS
- Skin Cancer Types: Basal Cell Carcinoma Diagnosis and Treatment – American Academy of Dermatology
- Basal Cell Carcinoma – Mayo Clinic
- Mohs Surgery – Cleveland Clinic
Learn More About Dr Bish Soliman
Dr Bish Soliman is a Sydney based Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon specialising in complex microsurgical reconstruction including breast reconstruction, aesthetic surgery of the face, breast, and body as well as skin cancer surgery.