Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer worldwide. But if you’re going through the ordeal of beating the disease, then it probably feels anything but common. There are a few types of skin cancer. The good news is that the most common type of cancer (basal cell carcinoma) rarely spreads far or quickly. This usually allows time for treatment before it does significant damage to the surrounding tissues.
Other types of skin cancer have a higher chance of spreading but can usually be treated successfully when caught early. If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably been diagnosed already—or someone close to you has. The good news is that now you can start getting ready for your comeback from cancer. You know what you’re dealing with, and now it just comes down to getting the best treatment out there. A comeback from skin cancer usually means surgery to remove the cancerous cells, then skin cancer reconstruction to repair the look of the area.
Removing Cancer Cells Surgically
Obviously, the number one priority for skin cancer treatment is removing the cancer cells as quickly as possible. It is extremely important to remove all the affected cells in order to prevent the cancer from reappearing. For this reason, many skin cancers are treated with procedures like cross-sectional frozen-section technique and MOHS micrographic surgery. Both methods involve removing small pieces of skin tissue at a time so they can be immediately examined for any remaining cancer cells. Once all the surrounding tissue is clear of cancer, defects in the skin often remain, which can sometimes be very deep. That’s where a skilled plastic surgeon comes in to repair the cosmetic concerns and complete treatment.
Skin Cancer Reconstruction Methods
Skin cancer reconstruction is highly custom, since the location and severity of skin cancer excision can vary greatly. The process requires the skill and experience of a board certified plastic surgeon with extensive knowledge of reconstructive techniques.
Some skin cancer reconstruction involves nothing more than a simple line closure or skin graft needed to restore the facial aesthetics. This is typically in cases where the patient’s cancer has not had a chance to spread deeper or wider than the original affected area. Other cases may require skin flap grafting or even tissue expansion.
Tissue expansion is a method of “growing” more skin for use in skin cancer reconstruction. It is a lengthy process but can be a great option for skin cancer reconstruction. During a surgical procedure, a small “balloon” is inserted under the skin. Over the course of several weeks, the balloon is slowly inflated with injections of sterile saline solution. This allows the skin to stretch and expand, creating more available skin for skin cancer reconstruction. While there is some inconvenience associated with the process, most patients are very happy when they see the final results of their reconstructive surgery after the balloon and excess skin are removed and used to repair the area damaged by cancer cells.
Skin Cancer Comeback: Moving on with Life
Skin cancer doesn’t have to beat you! With the right surgeons, you’ll be able to move on with your life with confidence, never worrying that strangers will see you as a former skin cancer patient. A skilled plastic surgeon can perform complex reconstructions and give patients their self-esteem and life back. Moving quickly once you’ve been diagnosed is key. If you’re facing treatment, it’s a good idea to get started right away. Early intervention will make the surgeries easier and more successful.
Choosing Your Surgeons
Accept nothing but the very best when it comes to your skin cancer treatment. Both the excision of cancer cells and the reconstruction are crucial for moving on with your life, so finding an experienced team should be your number one priority. Dr. Stuart Bentkover is an acclaimed facial plastic surgeon, renowned for his skill with complex facial skin cancer reconstruction and tissue expansion. Dr. Bentkover has over 25 years of experience in working with skin cancer patients. Dr. Bentkover often teams up with Dr. Donald Grande, an expert in MOHS surgery and skin cancer treatment, in order to give patients the best outcomes possible. If you would like to discuss your case with Dr. Bentkover, give us a call today at Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery & Laser Center at 508-363-6500 (Worcester, MA location) or 617-247-0033 (Stoneham, MA location).