Quick Facts About Skin Cancer Treatment:
- Treatment of skin cancer, much like any form of cancer, may require surgery to remove cancerous growths
- Your plastic surgeon can surgically remove cancerous and other skin lesions using specialized techniques to preserve your health and your appearance
- Although no surgery is without scars, your plastic surgeon will make every effort to treat your skin cancer without dramatically changing your appearance
- For some people, reconstruction may require more than one procedure to achieve the best results
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
About 2 out of 10 skin cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (also called squamous cell cancers). They commonly appear on sun-exposed areas of the body such as the face, ears, neck, lips, and backs of the hands. They can also develop in scars or skin ulcers elsewhere. They sometimes start in actinic keratoses (described below). Less often, they form in the skin of the genital area.
Squamous cell carcinomas tend to be more aggressive than basal cell cancers. They are more likely to invade fatty tissues just beneath the skin, and are more likely to spread to lymph nodes and/or distant parts of the body, although this is still uncommon.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
When seen under a microscope, these cancers share features with the cells in the lowest layer of the epidermis, called the basal cell layer.
About 8 out of 10 skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas (also called basal cell cancers). They usually develop on sun-exposed areas, especially the head and neck. Basal cell carcinoma was once found almost exclusively in middle-aged or older people. Now it is also being seen in younger people, probably because they are spending more time in the sun with their skin exposed.
Basal cell carcinoma tends to be slow growing. It is very rare for a basal cell cancer to spread to nearby lymph nodes or to distant parts of the body. But if a basal cell cancer is left untreated, it can grow into nearby areas and invade the bone or other tissues beneath the skin.
After treatment, basal cell carcinoma can recur (come back) in the same place on the skin. People who have had basal cell cancers are also more likely to get new ones elsewhere on the skin. As many as half of the people who are diagnosed with one basal cell cancer will develop a new skin cancer within 5 years.