Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. 80% of these lesions appear on the face, head, or neck. Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, race, or skin type. Following removal of a skin cancer, reconstruction may be necessary to restore the normal contour on the body or face.
The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, which grows slowly and rarely spreads. If left untreated, it can grow deep beneath the skin and into the underlying tissue and bone. Squamous cell carcinoma may appear on the lips, face, or ears. It can spread to other areas such as the lymph nodes and internal organs. It may be life-threatening if not treated. Malignant melanoma is one of the most dangerous types of skin cancer. If not treated quickly, it can spread throughout the body and become life-threatening. Skin cancer is diagnosed by removing part or all of a growth and allowing a pathologist to examine it under a microscope. If the cancer is small, it can be removed in the office under local anesthesia. If the cancer is large or has spread to the lymph nodes, more extensive surgery in the hospital may be required. In some cases, a dermatologist will perform Mohs surgery in his or her office (a procedure in which the cancer is shaved off one layer at a time and examined under the microscope until all cancer cells have been removed) and send the patient to Dr. Naidu for immediate reconstruction of the defect.
Following excision and reconstruction of skin cancer, regular follow-up appointments are necessary for both suture removal and evaluation for possible recurrence. These appointments are a vital part of your treatment. Sunscreen should be worn every day, rain or shine, as part of a regimen for prevention of future cancers.