Skin cancer can happen at any stage of life, and over 1 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. At Southeastern Dermatology, we offer several surgical techniques to remove skin cancers, growths, moles, and cysts.
What is Skin Cancer Removal?
While the presence of moles and birthmarks on the skin is normal, it is important to monitor them for changes over time. When skin growths appear to be growing, changing shape or color, or otherwise evolving, it may be necessary to have these growths removed before they become cancerous.
There are three major forms of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. These types of cancer each has varying levels of severity, but the prognosis is improved for each type when the cancer is caught early and removed.
The technique used during skin cancer or growth removal depends on the severity as well as patient preference. There are multiple options available:
- Scraping and burning – The cancer is scraped using a long, thin surgical tool and then safely treated with an electric needle to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
- Freezing – Some types of cancers respond well when the cancer cells are frozen using liquid nitrogen or argon gas.
- Radiation – Just as with cancers in other areas of the body, radiation using high-energy rays or particles is often effective with skin cancer.
- Excision – During this technique, the skin is numbed, and the mass or growth is removed using a surgical knife.
When the extent of the skin cancer is unknown or if there is a high risk that the cancer could return, Mohs surgery is often utilized. This highly advanced technique requires special training and education and often has the best outcome in comparison to other removal techniques.
During Mohs surgery, the skin is removed in a thin layer and studied under a microscope. If there are still cancer cells present, another layer is removed until no cancer cells are detected.
In some cases of skin cancer, a large mass is removed, and the edges of remaining skin cannot be effectively brought together and sutured. In these instances, healthy skin can be extracted from other parts of the body and grafted over the wound to promote healing and maintain the appearance of the treated area.
Prior to your removal procedure or surgery, Dr. Hendricks will discuss your individual condition and options will be discussed to determine which method of removal is best for you. Contact Southeastern Dermatology today to schedule a consultation.