It is estimated that around 2 million Americans are affected by skin cancer, which makes it the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States. It is believed that around 40 to 50 percent of Americans will experience some form of skin cancer at least once by the time they are 65.
Of the various forms of skin cancer, the most common is the BCC or Basal Cell Carcinoma. Not only is it the most common in the USA, but it is also the most common in the world. Now, BCC is rarely a fatal condition. However, it does cause extreme scarring, especially after the removal or when it is left untreated.
Types of Skin Cancer
As you might already know, skin cancer is caused as a result of abnormal or uncontrolled cell growth. There are mainly three kinds of skin cancer – squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and basal cell carcinoma.
Squamous cell carcinoma is characterized by the appearance of flat lesions on the skin that have a crusted surface or red nodules that are firm to the touch.
Melanoma, on the other hand, shows up as a new skin growth or a sudden change in existing moles. This might happen across any part of the body and at random. In fact, melanoma has been observed under the nails and even inside the mouth.
Melanoma is the rarest of all three cancer types. However, it is the most dangerous. Though it can be treated, the key is to ensure a quick diagnosis. Once the melanoma progresses to more advanced stages, it can become impossible to treat.
Finally, we have basal cell carcinoma or BCC. As stated earlier, this is the most common form of cancer across the globe and in the US. BCC typically appears over areas on the skin that have been exposed to the sun too much. BCC is characterized by the appearance of flat lesions resembling waxy bumps or scars.
Reconstruction After Skin Cancer
If diagnosed on time, most skin cancers can be treated and cured, including melanoma. However, despite the cure, the damage done to the patient’s skin is often significant. Needless to say, this can be very distressing for those affected, especially after surviving a battle with cancer.
However, the good news is that the damage caused to the skin by these skin cancers can be fixed via reconstructive procedures. There is a wide range of reconstructive procedures that are available to skin cancer patients.
In the case of small or insignificant scarring, sutures may be used to fix the problem. This is known as a primary closure. In fact, insignificant scarring is usually left untreated in favor of natural healing. However, as we just mentioned, some scarring can be severe. In this case, the surgeon or doctor may suggest going in for a skin graft.
For large defects or wounds, doctors may carry out a “skin flap” procedure to ensure that the skin is restored properly. The procedure typically involves borrowing skin from an adjacent area to close the visible defects after skin cancer removal.
Contact Our Office
Interested in learning more about skin reconstruction after going through a skin cancer treatment? Contact our office to schedule a consultation with skilled plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Joseph.