The following information is designed to inform the patient on the various forms of skin cancer and it's treatment and removal.
Cancer is a disease caused by uncontrolled multiplication of body cells. Our body is constantly making new cells to enable us to grow to replace worn out cells and damaged cells after an injury. Normally, cells grow and multiply in an orderly way. Occasionally however, some cells behave abnormally. They multiply in an uncontrolled manner and these cells may then grow into a lump which is caused a tumour.
Tumours can be benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign tumours do not spread outside their normal boundary to other parts of the body. Malignant tumours however are made of cancer cells. If these cells are not treated, they may spread to the surrounding tissues and sometimes spread to distant sites (metastasize).
Skin cancer is caused by uncontrolled multiplication of the surface cells of the skin, usually due to prolonged or excessive ultraviolet light exposure from the sun. The incidences of skin cancer are rising in the United Kingdom. People over 40 are at the highest risk.
If you check your skin regularly, you should be able to identify suspicious skin lesions or nodules and you would need to seek medical help. Skin cancer is diagnosed clinically and confirmed by a biopsy where the tissues are looked at under the microscope.
Skin cancers take a variety of forms:
If skin cancer is found at an early stage and on pathology report has been successfully removed by surgery, no further treatment is necessary. Once a skin cancer has developed, it is important to have close vigilance and regular follow up if necessary. Sometimes, skin cancers may need adjuvant radiotherapy.
If a lot of skin has to be removed, then it is not possible to pull the edges of the skin back together and may need one of the following reconstructions:
Skin graft which involves removing a thin layer of normal skin from the other part of the body such as the neck, behind the ear or anterior abdomen. This piece of skin may be referred to as a split skin graft or a full thickness skin graft. This is placed over the gap and sutured into position with pressure dressings.
Skin flap which is transferring of adjacent local tissue of the same texture and thickness into the defect. This method is often used on the face.
If you have any problems or concerns, please telephone us on 01202-422171 or 01202-428773 for advice.Back