Skin Cancer Surgery - Squamous Cell Carcinoma

What types of treatment are used?

Fortunately, SCCs are very slow growing forms of skin cancer and usually remain in the outer layer of the skin. However, if left untreated, they can disfigure the skin and may spread to other organs of the body (metastasise). Treatment is usually surgery, or radiotherapy, though cryotherapy can be used. The diagnosis is confirmed by sending the tumour (cancerous growth) or a small portion of it (biopsy) away to be examined under the microscope.

If tumours are small, the removal of the tissue for diagnosis will also act as the cure.

Occasionally it is necessary to repair the area with a skin graft or other types of plastic surgery.

With SCC there is a chance that spread to other areas of the body such as lymph nodes. It is usual for a period of oncological surveillance after an SCC has been removed. Mr Soldin will check the excision scar, the adjacent lymph nodes and your skin at each visit to ensure that you have no recurrence or new lesions of concern.

How will I feel after my surgery?

The diagnosis of cancer can produce a wide range of feelings. Most skin cancers are not a serious risk to your health.

What is the future?

Squamous cell carcinoma caught early is curable. However, if you have had one SCC, it is possible that others will develop over the years. For this reason, you need to examine your skin for any abnormality every 3-6 months to detect early warning signs.

Here are some tips

Check for any existing or new skin lumps or moles that enlarge, change colour, bleed or itch. Most changes are harmless but they may indicate the start of a skin cancer. See your doctor if in doubt. Mr Soldin will also instruct you on how you can check your lymph nodes yourself. You can do this once a week at home easily.

Take care whilst in the sun, by wearing protective clothing and using high factor sunscreens (SPF 15+).
Wearing a hat with a large brim is recommended.
Avoid strong sunshine during 11am to 3pm if possible.
Avoid using sunbeds.
Pass on the message to friends and family about protecting themselves and checking alterations in moles and their skin.
It is particularly important to protect children from strong sunlight.

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© Copyright Ms Marion Grob, MRCS (Eng), MRCS (Ed), MD (Plast), EBOPRAS, FÄ (Plast) Ger.