Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Australia. Most skin cancers begin as small changes to the skin including; discolouration, sores or lumps that either have a history of coming or going or that gradually grow larger. Skin cancers can range widely in appearance and are best identified and treated early. Your General Practitioner should examine any unusual change in your skin and refer you to a specialist if surgical treatment is necessary.
Squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma and basal cell carcinoma are the three main forms of skin cancer. All three need some degree of surgical correction and ongoing treatment.
In skin cancer, the skin cells are affected and mainly generate because of Ultraviolet Radiation from the Sun. Over ninety-five percent of skin cancers can be treated early. The least aggressive and the most common form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma. This type of cancer continues to grow in its initial location and does not spread. Thus, once the cancer has been entirely removed, no further treatment is needed.
The removal of most skin cancers can be administered under local anaesthetic in our Adelaide clinic. The mole can be removed by shaving it with a scalpel or by using liquid nitrogen, however, if the mole is on the neck or face, then it is normally surgically removed so that a better cosmetic result is achieved. This method ensures that the surrounding tissue and the deeper layers of the mole are removed correctly. The way that an incision is closed depends the size of the mole and how much surrounding tissue needs to be removed.
For smaller moles an incision is closed very carefully with sutures, leaving a straight-line scar after the skin cancer removal procedure. However, in some areas of the body, and in the case of large skin cancers, this is not possible, and a local skin flap or skin graft may be required. If this is the case, then the skin cancer removal will need to be administered in a hospital.