Surgery to remove skin cancer is one of the most effective ways of treating this common condition. If you need skin cancer surgery, board-certified dermatologists Navid Nami, DO, and Leila Ettefagh, MD, at Island Dermatology can help. They provide advanced surgeries, including Mohs micrographic surgery, for basal cell and squamous carcinomas, melanomas, and other skin cancers. To benefit from their skin cancer surgery expertise, call the Island Dermatology office in Newport Beach, Glendora, Downey, Santa Ana, or Victorville, California, or book an appointment online today.
Skin cancer surgery might be necessary if your provider at Island Dermatology diagnoses a malignant growth on your skin.
Treatments for precancerous lesions include nonsurgical methods such as burning or freezing with liquid nitrogen, medium-depth chemical peels, and photodynamic therapy. However, if the cancer is too advanced for these treatments, you might need to undergo skin cancer surgery.
Removing the cancerous tissue – especially in the earlier stages of a tumor's development – is one of the best ways to prevent your cancer from spreading or returning.
There are three major types of skin cancer for which you might require surgery:
Basal cell carcinoma is the skin cancer that's most widespread, accounting for 75% of skin cancers that aren't melanomas. They develop from the basal cells in the deepest layer of your epidermis (the outer skin).
Squamous cell carcinoma tends to grow faster than basal cell carcinoma and accounts for around 20% of skin cancers. They develop in the keratinocytes – cells found in your epidermis.
Melanoma starts in the melanocyte cells deep in your epidermis. Melanocytes produce melanin, which gives skin its color. Overexposure to UV (ultraviolet) radiation from the sun or artificial UV from tanning beds can trigger melanoma development.
The technique your provider at Island Dermatology uses to treat your skin cancer depends on various factors, such as the type and size of your cancer and its location. Most patients are able to undergo skin cancer surgery in-office under a local anesthetic.
Surgery options include:
Excision is the most straightforward type of skin cancer surgery, but it does leave a scar. Your provider numbs your skin with a local anesthetic, then cuts out the cancerous tissue and a little of the surrounding skin.
With curettage and electrodesiccation, your provider draws a long, slender instrument (curette) with a sharp looped edge over the cancer to remove it. Then they use an electrode to destroy any cancer cells that might still be present. It's a good treatment for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas in the top layers of skin, but it does cause scarring.
Your provider at Island Dermatology might use the Mohs surgery technique if your skin cancer is somewhere visible like your face, or other situations where it's important to keep as much healthy skin as possible.
Mohs surgery involves a specially trained surgeon removing thin layers of tissue and examining each one microscopically before continuing. Island Dermatology has Mohs surgeons on staff who perform in-office surgeries three times a week.
If you have a suspicious lesion that could be cancerous, contact the experts in skin cancer surgery at Island Dermatology. Call or book an appointment online today.