Skin Cancer Treatment

In the United States, the most common form of cancer is skin cancer. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, there are more than one million cases that were diagnosed every year. The statistics show that in every 5 Americans, at least 1 person is diagnosed with this disease in their life.

Skin cancer is normally caused by overexposure to the sun. Areas that are greatly affected are the face, head, and neck. It is mandatory that epithelial tumors are to be removed carefully. If not, the result would be lethal to the individual and may experience disfigurement. To remove skin lesions and reconstructing of the wound site, talk with board certified plastic surgeons and dermatologists who are experts and well-experienced in this procedure, like Dr’s Hall & Wrye.

The most frequent type of reconstructive plastic surgery is skin cancer tumor removal. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons said that in 2008, there were 4.9 million reported cases of reconstructive surgical procedure and out of these number, 3.2 million cases are skin cancer tumor removal surgeries.


The following are the three different types of skin cancer:

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common treatable type of skin cancer that occurs in the basal cells. Basal cells are small, round cells in the base of the skin’s outer layer.
Squamous cell carcinoma is also considered extremely treatable and occurs in the squamous cells. Squamous cells are flat cells that form the skin’s surface. The earliest form of this type of cancer is actinic keratoses; a rough, scaly, slightly raised growths that vary in color from brown to red and from about 1 mm to 1 inch in diameter.

Melanoma is the most lethal type of skin cancer. Although it can be cured, it is only possible if caught early and treated aggressively. According to the American Cancer Society out of the 10,850 cases of skin cancer deaths each year, 8,110 of it are caused by melanoma. This type of cancer develops in melanocytes, skin cells that create pigment.


The treatment of skin cancer involves more than just the simple removal of a visible lesion. To ensure that all cancer cells are removed, surgeons should also eradicate the sub-dermal cancerous tissue beneath the growth.

To accomplish this process, a pathologist will microscopically examine the removed cancer before the plastic surgeon closes the affected area. In removing all the cancerous cells, the surgeon should ensure that the patient is heavily sedated and anesthetized. If this procedure is successful, it is called a “clear margin.” For the entire region to have a clear margin, the plastic surgeon shall continue to eliminate the tissue. The surgeon can rebuild the wound once the clear margins are found.

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There are many surgery processes in removing skin cancer from the body.

There are several cases wherein a tumor is cut together with some normal skin that surrounds it by the plastic surgeon that specializes in this field.

When a tumor is cut out layer by layer, this procedure is called Mohs surgery. Oftentimes this surgery is used in removing skin cancer on the face. Throughout this procedure, each layer that is removed by the surgeon is carefully examined for cancer cells until they reach the clear margin.

There are also other strategies in removing skin cancer. These are:

  • Shave excision – The tumor of the skin is shaved off by the surgeon using a small blade.
  • Electrodessication and curettage – The tumor is cut from the skin using a curette or a sharp, spoon shaped tool. To stop the bleeding and destroy any remaining cancer cells, the affected area is zapped with a high-frequency electric current.
  • Cryotherapy – Skin cancer is destroyed by freezing the affected area.
  • Lasers – There are some lasers that vaporize the skin cancer tissue eventually destroying it in the process.
  • Dermabrasion – The upper layers of the skin are sanded off using a wire brush or a diamond wheel that has rough edges. This procedure is a more aggressive form of anti-aging treatment called micro-dermabrasion.

Treatment of skin cancer is based on its size, location and type. Once this is identified, the surgeon can decide the appropriate surgical treatment to be used. Reconstruction of the affected area might be needed after the cancer is removed. Scars brought by the procedure can be cosmetically repaired if the affected area is small. If the affected area is large, the adjacent tissue that repositions over the wound can be repaired by a local flap. In addition, a skin graft can also be used to cover the scars. This is done by removing a healthy skin and uses it to cover the wound site.

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can also be used to prevent the spread of the cancer aside from the surgeries made. This will make certain that any delinquent cancer cells are truly destroyed.


As per the American Cancer Society, majority of reported one million plus cases on non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed in the United States yearly are considered to be sun-related.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun can cause skin cancer excessive exposure to it might result to skin cancer. Children who had experience sunburn or getting tanned most of the time has a higher risk in acquiring fatal melanoma in their later life. Individuals with lighter skin types are most likely victims of sun damage. Therefore they have a greater risk to experience skin cancer compared to individuals with darker skin types.

The Skin Cancer Foundation has several suggestions on how to avoid skin cancer. These are:

  • Avoid sun exposure from 10 A.M. until 4 P.M.
  • Avoid getting too much sunburn.
  • Stay away from tanning and UV tanning stalls.
  • Use a sunscreen lotion that has sun protection factor
  • (SPF) of 15 or above every day.
  • 30 minutes before planning to go outside, apply at least two tablespoon of sunscreen lotion to all areas that are exposed. Individuals who sweat excessively or who are swimming should reapply sunscreen lotion every two hours.
  • Use appropriate clothing before exposing to the sun. Include a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses that has UV-blocking features. Eyeglasses to be used should also have features that are able to block 99% of UVA and UVB radiation. Check the label of the eyeglasses.
    Babies who are 6 months older should use sunscreen when going outside. Newly born babies should not be exposed to the sun.
  • Every month, examine the skin from head to toe.
    Every year, get a professional skin check-up from a physician who is an expert to this field.