Unfortunately skin cancer is all too common in Florida due to the year round sun exposure we are all exposed to.
There are three main types of skin cancer:
basal cell carcinoma
squamous cell carcinoma
Facts about skin cancer treatment:
Treatment of skin cancer, much like any form of cancer, may require surgery to remove the cancerous growths. Understanding that treating your skin cancer may result in scars or disfigurement can be troubling. Dr. Shoukas understands your concerns and will guide you through your treatment and explain the resulting effect on your health and appearance.
Dr. Shoukas can surgically remove cancerous and other skin lesions using specialized techniques to preserve your health and your appearance. Although no surgery is without scars, Dr. Shoukas will make every effort to treat your skin cancer without dramatically changing your appearance. For some people, reconstruction may require more than one procedure or even staged procedures to achieve the best results.
Depending on the size, type, and location of the lesion, there are many ways to remove skin cancer and reconstruct your appearance if necessary. Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The choices include local, intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Dr. Shoukas will recommend the best choice for you. (Some treatment is done in our Lake Mary office, surgical is not preformed in our Lake Mary office.)
Excision of the Cancer
A small or contained lesion may be removed with excision — a simple surgical process to remove the lesion from the skin. Closure is most often performed in conjunction with excision.
Skin cancer can be like an iceberg. What is visible on the skin surface sometimes is only a small portion of the growth. Beneath the skin, the cancerous cells cover a much larger region and there are no defined borders. In these cases, a specialized technique called frozen section is performed by Dr. Shoukas. The cancerous lesion is removed and microscopically examined by a pathologist prior to wound closure to ensure all cancerous cells have been removed.
The goal is to look for a clear margin — an area where the skin cancer has not spread. When clear margins are achieved in the operating room, the resulting wound is reconstructed.
A large lesion or one that has been removed with frozen sections can be reconstructed with a local flap. A flap may also be necessary where excision may result in a disfiguring appearance. A local flap repositions healthy, 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 applied.
After your skin cancer has been removed and any primary reconstruction is completed, a dressing or bandages will be applied to your incisions.
Following your skin cancer surgery, incision sites may be sore, red or drain small amounts of fluid.
It is important to follow all wound care instructions such as cleansing and applying topical medications exactly as directed. You may be able to return to light activity the day of your surgery. Make certain to keep your incision sites clean and well protected from potential injury. Try to limit movement that may stress your wound and your sutures.