Skin cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in Australia, affecting two out of three Aussies by the age of 70. With 2000 Australians succumbing to the disease every year, and a further 750 000 facing a diagnosis, knowing what to look for in terms of signs and symptoms is of critical importance, as early diagnosis is key to successful treatment. In this blog, we’ll discuss common symptoms and the available options for treatment at Cranford House Plastic Surgery.
As we approach Skin Cancer Action Week at the end of November, we want to remind our valued clients that one of the services we provide at Cranford House Plastic Surgery is the treatment of skin cancer, as well as checking for signs of the disease. We can treat skin cancer through surgical excision or freezing methods while it is still in its early stages, so ensuring that you’re getting checked regularly is very important to avoid more intensive treatments such as chemo or radiation therapy.
What Are Common Signs of Skin Cancer?
There are three particularly prevalent forms of skin cancer: – Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), and Melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous of these three as, if not detected early, it aggressively spreads throughout the body. All three present with slightly different visual symptoms, so knowing what to look for is very useful.
Basal Cell Carcinoma is one of the more common forms of skin cancer, comprising 80% of new diagnoses. BCC usually (although not always) manifests on parts of the body that have been frequently exposed to the sun and manifests as small, flat, round spots that are red, pale, or pearly in colour.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma usually presents as firm, red nodules that don’t disappear or flat, scaly lesions that may have a crust forming over them. If you notice these symptoms, we suggest an immediate medical checkup, as SCC can quickly spread to the lymph nodes or organs.
The one you need to watch out for, however, is melanoma. Highly aggressive, melanoma will very quickly spread throughout the body. Melanoma often presents as changes to existing moles—if you’ve noticed any shifts in shape, colour, or texture, or if a mole has started bleeding, please go and get checked out! Additionally, new moles, dark brown spots with darker speckles, and lesions can also signify the development of melanoma. Remember that early diagnosis is a huge part of successful treatment, so if you spot anything concerning, seek medical advice immediately.
How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed?
One of the services we offer at Cranford House Plastic Surgery is a skin cancer check. We will give you a thorough examination, and should we see anything concerning, a biopsy will be taken. This small tissue sample will then be examined for signs of skin cancer.
How Is Skin Cancer Treated?
At Cranford House Plastic Surgery, we offer three different forms of skin cancer treatment: cryotherapy, skin graft construction, and skin flap reconstruction.
Cryotherapy involves the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill cancerous cells. This treatment is used mainly for BCC and SCC cancers that haven’t penetrated beyond the top layer of skin and can also be used to remove pre-existing skin conditions before they become cancerous.
Skin graft construction involves transplanting healthy skin from a non-cancerous part of the body over the area where the cancer was present. Skin flap reconstruction is similar, except the grafted skin is taken from the area directly next to where the cancer was removed. A flap of skin is lifted and repositioned over the skin cancer site.
All these treatment options are best suited to early-stage skin cancer, which is another reason why it’s so important to be aware of the signs and symptoms.
How Can We Help?
While we don’t provide cancer treatments such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy, we can provide excision procedures for skin cancer, which hopefully preclude the need for further treatment. If you or a loved one has recently received a diagnosis of skin cancer and wants to discuss your treatment options, please get in touch. Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Quoc Lam is committed to providing high-quality, compassionate care.
To learn more about skin cancer prevention and treatment options, please see here.
To schedule a consultation, please call 08 7070 0596. For emergencies, our after-hours contact details can be found here.