Skin Cancer Removal at Barrie Plastic Surgery

Supportive and thorough skin cancer removal!

What is Skin Cancer Removal?

More than one in four fair-skinned Canadians will get skin cancer in their lifetime. Plastic surgeons are involved in removing a large share of skin cancers as most of them occur on the “sunbelt” of the face which includes the nose, cheeks, temples and ears. Almost all skin cancers are caused by sunburns. Aging Canadians should be even more weary of burns as the damage caused by ultraviolet light is not as well reversed by DNA repair enzymes as you age. In other words, the older you are when you get a sunburn, the more likely you are to get skin cancer from the sunburn.

The longer you wait to have skin cancer removed, the bigger it grows, and the more complicated the reconstruction becomes in order to make the patient look as close to normal as possible. This is why it’s best to be treated early while it’s still small.

Benefits of Skin Cancer Removal

  1. High Cure Rate
  2. Short Recovery Period
  3. Can Save Lives

Basal Cell Skin Cancer

Basal cell skin cancer is the most common kind of skin cancer.

It is usually a smooth pink or red, flat or lumpy area. Basal skin cancer does not go away but gradually gets larger and larger. These cancers generally do not know how to spread elsewhere (metastasize). They therefore do not generally get into the blood, and do not spread to the lungs, liver or brain as do many cancers such as breast or bowel cancer. Basal cell skin cancer generally isn’t fatal unless you refuse to address it and it continues to grow. The cure rate with removing these surgically is over 95%. Those who are not cured simply have not had all of the cancer cells removed and will require additional surgery to remove leftover cancer.

Squamous Cell Skin Cancer

Squamous cell skin cancer is very much the same as basal cell skin cancer in appearance, except the red areas tend to have hard rough spots on them and bleed more easily.

Squamous cell skin cancers also have a slightly higher risk of metastasizing than basal cell skin cancers. However, the risk of metastasis and death is usually less than 5% if the squamous cell skin cancer is in a sun-induced area (i.e. not on the genitals, inside the mouth, or in the anal areas). Squamous cell skin cancers on the hands, the lips and ears do have a higher risk of metastasis than sun-induced squamous cell skin cancers on the rest of the face and body.

Malignant Melanoma

Malignant melanoma occurs in 1% of fair-skinned Canadians. This kind of cancer can metastasize and therefore result in death. However, if you catch it early on and have it removed, the survival rate is high. The survival rate of removing malignant melanoma surgically is over 95%. There are three symptoms that make melanoma obvious, as this is not a subtle skin cancer in most instances:  Melanoma is usually black or has black in it and arises from moles. →Melanoma tends to grow quickly and will often double in size over weeks. → Melanoma tends to have an unusual or irregular shape as opposed to benign moles which are usually round or oval. If you have a thin melanoma (less than 1mm thick) your plastic surgeon will usually recommend a 1cm excision of normal-looking skin around the tumour followed by no further treatment. If you have an intermediate thickness melanoma (1-4mm thick) you will usually have 2cm of normal-looking skin removed from either side of the tumour followed by a sentinel (first relay) lymph node dissection.

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