Treatment of skin cancers
- At the Swan Clinic, we prefer to excise skin cancers and send them to pathology. This ensures that the correct diagnosis is made and that the tumour margins are clear. This minimises the chance of tumour recurrence.
- Every effort is made to ensure cosmetic outcomes are maximised, while ensuring tumour clearance. For simple excisions and for skin cancer flaps, at the Swan Clinic, we prefer to use an ophthalmic blade to cut out facial skin cancers. This fine sharp blade allows the subsequent scar to be hidden within the natural contours of the skin within these cosmetically sensitive areas. In addition, a scar minimisation schedule is embarked on. This may include a combination of taping, silicone or massage tailored to each patient. This schedule may last a few weeks.
- If the skin cancer is small and in an area with lax skin, it is possible to cut the tumour out and close the skin. The incision is usually done along Langer’s lines which are the natural skin laxity lines. This allows for a more favourable scar with gradual camouflage as we age and lines form around the scar.
- If the skin cancer is large, or in a cosmetically sensitive area such as eyelids, nose, lip and ear, hand or leg, then a flap may be necessary. A flap is tissue borrowed from an adjacent area which is advanced or rotated into the defect. The tissue is selected for best colour and texture match. The flap has its own blood supply.
- Sometimes, a skin graft is needed instead of a flap. This means that skin is taken from a completely separate area. The graft is used to cover the defect left after the skin cancer removal.
A graft takes its blood supply from the recipient area.
Other accepted treatments for skin cancers include cryotherapy, diathermy, shaving and radiotherapy. However, at the skin clinic, we prefer excision to ensure the tumour is completely excised.