If learning you have skin cancer isn’t frightening enough, learning that treating your skin cancer could also leave you with scars or disfigurement can be very distressing. Dr. Walker understands these fears and concerns and will guide you through treatment and explain the resulting effect on your health and appearance.
Although no surgery is scar free, Dr. Walker will make every effort to treat you skin cancer without dramatically changing your appearance. For some patients, excision of the cancer and reconstruction may require more than one procedure. Dr. Walker works closely with the top MOH”S dermatologist in Washington to provide the most comprehensive care for advanced skin cancers, or those cancers that may impair the function and look of your eye,nose, mouth or ears.
A small or contained skin cancer lesion may be removed with a simple surgical excision and closure. A larger lesion or one that has been removed via MOH’s surgery may require a local skin flap for reconstruction. This prevents the patient from suffering a disfiguring appearance. A local flap repositions healthy and adjacent tissue over the wound. A suture line is positioned to follow the natural creases and curves of the face if possible, to minimize the appearance of the resulting scar. A skin graft, healthy skin removed from one area of the body and relocated to the wound site, may also be used in the first or second stage of reconstruction of the cancer defect.
After the Procedure
Dr. Walker will give you specific wound and suture care instructions after the surgery. She also insists that you continue with six month or yearly skin examinations and wear sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher daily.
Skin Cancer FAQ
Q: What type of skin cancers does Dr. Walker remove?
- Basal cell carcinoma – This is the most common and least dangerous form of skin cancer. It tends to grow slowly and rarely spreads beyond its original site.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma – This is the second most-common type of skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma frequently appears on the lips, face or ears. It sometimes spreads to distant sites, including the lymph nodes and the internal organs.
- Malignant Melanoma – This is the least common, but most dangerous form of skin cancer. If discovered early enough, it can be completely cured. If it’s not treated quickly, however, malignant melanoma my spread through the body and become life threatening.
Q: How will I look and feel right after skin cancer removal surgery?
A: After the procedure, the treated area will appear slightly swollen and the incision/scar line may be pink or red in color. If you have had a more complex wound closure or tissue- transfer procedure the healing and recovery time will be longer than a simple excision. Occaisionaly, Dr. Walker will perform the reconstructive procedure in the hospital if extensive MOH’s surgery is performed.
Q: How can I prevent skin cancer?
A: Avoid prolonged sun exposure, especially between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM and during the summer months. Ultra violet rays pass right through the clouds and reflect off sand, snow, and water. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher daily, and wear protective clothing such as wide- brimmed hats and light, cotton, long sleeved shirts.
And, most importantly, examine your skin regularly and if you note anything suspicious see your plastic surgeon soon.