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Few words can incite fear and anxiety quite like the word “cancer.” Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC for short, is the most common type of skin cancer. These uncontrolled growths are often the result of excessive sun exposure. Without proper treatment, skin cancer cells can become disfiguring and may metastasize to other parts of your body. Although receiving a diagnosis of skin cancer can be difficult to accept, knowing the type of treatment to expect can help you process the information and allow you look towards the future. Like many other types of cancer, skin cancer may require surgery.
An open sore that fails to heal is the most common symptom of skin cancer. Skin cancer typically appears as a sore that oozes and remains open, although it may seem to heal and then appear again, causing additional bleeding and oozing. A persistent sore that fails to heal completely is generally the first sign of early skin cancer. Cancerous lesions on the skin can resemble other types of skin disorders, such as eczema and psoriasis, making it important to seek a professional medical opinion whenever you notice any worrisome changes in your skin.
Surgical treatment of skin cancer involves removal and reconstruction. During the surgery, you will receive anesthesia to minimize discomfort. Depending on your individual situation, you may receive local or general anesthesia. Skin cancer frequently resembles an iceberg form, meaning that the area beneath the surface lesion is larger than the visible portion of growth. This often requires the removal of additional skin around and below the lesion, allowing for clear margins that don’t contain cancerous cells. Depending on the amount of tissue removed, you may have reconstruction surgery to help hide the missing skin. This may be done by applying a skin flap technique that uses adjacent tissue or by grafting healthy skin from other areas of your body.
Skin cancer surgery is not without certain risks. Possible risks from this type of surgery include bleeding, infection, unfavorable scarring, skin discoloration, improper graft attachment and risks associated with anesthesia. Secondary surgical procedures may be necessary to refine your results. Depending on your cancer, you may require additional types of treatment, such as radiation therapy. The basic purpose of skin cancer surgery is to remove the cancerous cells, minimize the risk of recurrence, and help restore your natural appearance.