Everyone is susceptible to skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States. It does not matter your age, race or skin type, you can get skin cancer from ultraviolet radiation from the sun or artificial sources like tanning booths.
It is estimated 80 percent of cancers appear on the face, head or neck. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, which can grow beneath the skin and into the underlying tissue and bone. There is also squamous cell carcinoma that can appear on the face, ears and lips and malignant melanoma, a dangerous type of skin cancer that can spread throughout the body. The key is to detect and treat any of these cancers early.
Two types of skin growths are moles and keratosis. Moles are bundles of pigmented skin cells on the skin surface. Some moles can develop into malignant melanoma. Many people have moles removed for cosmetic reasons. Solar or actinic keratoses are red or brown scaly patches on the skin that can develop into squamous cell cancer.
It is important to examine your skin regularly and have it checked if you notice any unusual changes on your body. Dr. Bartholomew can remove cancerous and other skin lesions with the use of specialized techniques and preserve your appearance. He will make every effort to treat your skin cancer and change your appearance as little as possible.
Everyone is a candidate since cancer can strike anyone, at any age. You are at a greater risk of cancer if you have fair and freckled skin, light-colored hair and eyes, moles of unusual size or shape, or have a family history of skin cancer.
Basal cell carcinoma may come in many forms. It often begins as a small, pearly nodule.
Squamous cell carcinoma may begin as a red, scaly patch, a group of crusted nodules, or a sore that doesn't heal.
When it comes to cancer, being aware of any change in the size, shape or color of a mole could be a sign of cancer. Or a mole that start to bleed or itch.
Look for asymmetry, border irregularities, change in color (often a mixture of colors), lesions that are larger than six mm across (think of a pencil eraser) and simple evolution (has a mole change size or shape).
Malignant melanoma is often asymmetrical, with blurred or ragged edges and mottled colors.
During your initial consultation, you will be able to discuss your particular situation with Dr. Bartholomew and go over your options. He will listen to your concerns and fears and explain what can be done. Together, you will converse on the various treatments, which one will be the most effective for you and what you can expect from a cosmetic and functional procedure.
Some procedures can save your life but leave you with unpleasant cosmetic appearance such as an unsightly scar or change in your facial structures. Dr. Bartholomew can help reconstruct your visage in a variety of ways. He can repair damaged tissue and restore your appearance and functionality. Dr. Bartholomew will examine your physical situation and access what treatment will be best for you.
Small skin cancers can often be excised quickly and easily in the physician's office.
Simple excision usually leaves a thin barely visible scar.
Skin cancers are removed surgically by an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Bartholomew. How long the procedure lasts depends on the size and type of cancer.
A smaller cancer can be performed quickly in our office with local anesthesia. It could be a simple excision depending on your situation. The cancer is often scraped out using an electric current to kill the remaining cancer cells. With a larger cancer, a major surgery may be required.
Dr. Bartholomew will go over the details with you. For example, the nose can be reconstructed using a soft tissue flap with the incision lines hidden within the creases of the nose and face. The wound is closed with stitches, skin grafts or skin flaps.
A bone/soft tissue flap is used to reconstruct the nose following skin cancer excision.
The incision lines of the flap are hidden within the natural creases of the nose and face.
Mohs surgery is a surgical procedure that treats skin cancer and removes as much as possible the cancer-containing tissues but keeping the damage to the surrounding healthy tissue to a minimal. Mohs surgery concerns skin cancers that are large or aggressive and/or have reappeared from a previous procedure. Approximately 80 percent of all cancers appear on the face, head, or neck with 500,000 new cases of skin cancer reported every year making it the most common form of cancer in the United States.
Mohs surgery removes the entire malignancy with a tumor map showing the sites of any residual cancer cells. A surgeon uses a scalpel to remove the visible portion of the tissues with cancer cells as seen under the microscope. The tissue is sent to the laboratory for analysis to ensure the ones with cancer have been successfully removed. If any cancer cells remain, the surgeon removes an additional layer of tissue from the affected area to take out the cancer tissue until there is no cancer tissue left.
The primary areas treated by Mohs are skin cancers in difficult areas such as the ears, lips, nose and neck. It can also be used to treat cancer in the hands and feet and deal with recurrent tumors.
It’s normal to feel some discomfort after the procedure. Pain reliever over the counter can provide pain relief. It is best to avoid aspirin because it can cause bleeding. You might get stitches to close the wound but they are usually removed within two weeks after surgery. A follow-up exam is a good idea to look for additional skin cancer because there is always a small risk that cancer can recur despite the high rate of success with Mohs.
You should expect to return to work in a day or two after your procedure. Some light exercise is fine but avoid any strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for one to three weeks depending on where the surgery took place. And make sure to wear sunscreen and protective clothing when outside for at least six months after surgery to minimize scarring.
The risks vary with each individual and depend on the type of cancer. Some of the risks can include: bad reaction to anesthesia, bleeding, change in skin sensation, infection, poor healing of the incisions, scarring and swelling.
It is important to schedule follow-up visits with Dr. Bartholomew to ensure that the treatment was successful and cancer does not return.
Once you have had skin cancer, you have a higher chance of getting skin cancer again. Dr. Bartholomew recommends that you keep examining your skin regularly for any signs of skin cancer. If you notice anything suspicious on your skin, schedule a visit as soon as possible.
When it comes to sunlight, it is best to avoid prolonged exposure after treatment, here are some suggestions to help:
Make a visit regarding skin cancer removal in Portland today.