SKIN CANCER RESECTION & RECONSTRUCTION
Thousands of people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year; the vast majority of those diagnosed are easily treated. Skin cancer surgery is focused on removing all cancerous cells while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible. This should be followed by a careful and cosmetic wound closure.
Most skin cancers are detected while they are very small and can be easily treated by simple surgery, under local anesthetic. In these cases, the scar is usually minimal requiring less complicated surgical closure.
In more advanced cases of skin cancer, the surgery can result in a larger defect that can be located on crucial structures such as the lips, eyelids or nose. This subsequent cancer defect can result in significant disfigurement that must be repaired by a plastic surgeon with extensive experience in facial reconstructive surgery.
All facial reconstructive surgery should be performed by a plastic surgeon with a special training in reconstructive surgery. Dr. Samer Bassilios Habre is an expert in reconstruction of skin defects. He has completed a fellowship in reconstructive surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (Memphis, USA), and uses state-of-the-art techniques in an effort to achieve the most natural result. He is also European Board certified in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.
Common Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is typically caused by over exposure to the sun. UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun have been shown to damage the genetic makeup (or DNA) of cells in laboratory studies. Experts agree this is the reason that sun exposure causes skin cells to genetically mutate into cancer cells. The three main types of skin cancer are:
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common and least deadly form of skin cancer. This cancer usually starts to grow slowly on the head, neck, tops of the ears or anywhere on the upper body. This type of cancer appears in an estimated 75% of skin cancer cases.
Squamous cell carcinoma is responsible for about 20% of skin cancers. It isn’t typically as dangerous as melanoma, but if undiagnosed and left untreated, this type of skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body and become deadly.
Melanoma is considered to be the most dangerous skin cancer. It can become metastatic and spread to other parts of the body such as the brain, liver, lymph nodes, and lung. Although melanoma is responsible for only about 5% of skin cancers, it is responsible for the majority (approximately 75%) of all skin cancer deaths. Melanoma typically presents as a pigmented lesion, or darkly colored spot that changes or varies in color.
Pigmented skin lesions, birthmarks or moles that meet the following “ABCDE” criteria should be evaluated for biopsy to rule out a possible melanoma.
A: Asymmetry or asymmetric shape
B: Border that is irregular, scalloped, or that has uneven edges
C: Colors with multiple variations (brown, blue, black, and tan) all within the same skin lesion
D: Diameter growing in size or exceeding 6 mm
E: Evolving in shape or size. Any change in color, crusting, ulceration, scabs, or overall change in appearance.
The most important factor in successfully treating skin cancer is early detection.