Treatment for malignant skin cancer (or skin excision of malignant lesions) is offered in various forms, including surgery as a way to remove or treat a growth that needs to be dealt with before it becomes worse and spreads.
How do my chances of developing skin cancer increase?
Your chances of developing melanoma are higher if you have: · lots of moles or freckles · pale skin that burns easily in sunlight · red or blonde hair · a family member who has had melanoma.
How is melanoma treated?
The most common way to treat a melanoma is to have it surgically removed together with some of the surrounding healthy tissue and then tested to see if it is cancerous. This is usually performed under local anaesthetic, although general anaesthetic (which means you will be asleep) is sometimes needed. Radiotherapy (a form of radiation) is also used to treat some forms of skin cancer, to reduce the chance of it coming back after surgery.
What does surgery entail?
There are several different types of treatment for skin cancer. The one you have will depend on various factors, including the type of cancer and how far it has spread. Surgery to remove the affected skin is often the first option. Your consultant will discuss the best type of treatment for you depending on the type of skin cancer you have. One type of surgery is skin excision, where your skin cancer is removed together with some of the surrounding healthy tissue. This is usually performed under local anaesthetic and if the skin cancer is extensive, a skin graft may also be needed. Mohs’ micrographic surgery is carried out when the cancer is on your face or for large skin lesions. This involves removing the cancer one layer at a time and then examining these layers under a microscope immediately after they are removed. Photodynamic therapy is used to treat pre-cancerous skin lesions or superficial basal cell carcinomas – a non-melanoma skin cancer. This involves application of a cream which is absorbed only by damaged skin cells. These are then destroyed by shining a light on to the affected area, sometimes removing the need for surgery. Cryosurgery is a procedure where your surgeon will use extreme cold (liquid nitrogen) to remove your cancer growth. Most of these treatments can be done using a local anaesthetic, so you will be awake but feel no pain. Your consultant will discuss the most appropriate treatment with you.