Helping to keep you cancer free
Skin cancer is very common and particularly in patients with a history of significant sun exposure and sun burns. The 3 most common skin cancers include Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and Malignant melanoma. Skin cancers have different presentations depending on the type. Melanoma is usually a dark lesion defined by the mnemonic ABCDE which is outlined below. BCC and SCC are often new growths that are enlarging. They may ulcerate, bleed, and have a difficult time healing.
The ABCDE of Melanoma
During the office visit our doctors will examine any suspicious growths, explain the procedure if one is required and explain the possible risks and complications. We will address any questions and concerns you have.
AsymmetryA growth with unmatched halves.
Border IrregularityA growth that has ragged or blurred edges
ColorThe lesion may have multiple colors or uneven color present.
DiameterA growth of more than 6 millimeters or the size of a pencil eraser
EvolvingA lesion that is changing in character over the past weeks or months.
What you can expect
We will discuss your specific treatment plan during your office visit. Each patient's case is unique and therefore each reconstruction is tailored to the given problem. Generally, any concerning skin growth is removed as an excisional biopsy and pathology will determine if the lesion is a cancer. If the lesion is malignant, more tissue will need to be removed, called a wide local excision. Pathology will confirm that all margins are free of cancer and a reconstruction will then be performed. The reconstruction will consist of a skin repair, skin graft, or flap for reconstruction. In the case of melanoma, a sentinel lymph node biopsy may be required depending of pathology details such as the depth of the tumor. This will be made clear prior to surgery. A skin graft is skin removed from another part of the body and sutured to the defect site. A flap is tissue that retains a blood supply and is rotated or transposed into the cancer defect to reconstruct it. The site where the flap tissue was taken is usually able to be repaired without the need for a skin graft. Cancer reconstruction can be challenging. As plastic & reconstructive surgeons we have the skillset to help achieve our goal of an aesthetic and/or functional reconstruction, and replacing tissue with "like" tissue.