Skin Cancer Treatment
The skin is actually an organ and, in fact, the largest organ of the body. A few of its many functions are as a barrier to infections, a regulator of temperature , a controller of our fluid loss or retention and as sensory organ. Unfortunately, skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States.
According to the American Cancer Socitey, the annual rate of new basal and squamous cell skin cancer is 2 million cases per year. These cancers emanate from the cells at the base of the outer layer of skin and usually occur in areas of the body that have seen a lot of sun such as the face, lips, arms and hands. Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are very likely to be cured when treated early and with surgery.
Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, arises from the cells called melanocytes that produce pigment. Melanoma will account for more than 75,000 cases of skin cancer in 2012 and results in 9,000 deaths per year. Although melanoma can be a deadly skin cancer if it spreads to the regional lymph nodes or distant organs, it is very likely to be cured if treated early. Treatment of melanoma is primarily surgical and because of how dangerous it can be the resections are often quite large and require plastic surgical techniques to reconstruct.
Of course prevention is the best option to avoid skin cancers and recommendations can be found at the American Cancer Society. However, once diagnosed, surgery is usually the treatment of choice. The surgeries I and my collegues have expertise in range from simple removal (excision) to very large excisions requiring grafting and/or reconstructive surgery. We also offer state of the art sentinel lymph node biopsy which is a technique used to determine if the cancer has spread but is minimally invasive. We have extensive experience with all types of skin cancers, and particular interest in the treatment of melanoma and some of the more severe forms of non-melanoma cancers such as Merkel cell carcinoma, skin adnexal tumors and sarcomas. I am proud to work closely with nationally and internationally distinguished experts in the field of surgical oncology and dermatopathology.
Surgery for removing and reconstruction after removal of skin cancer is usually covered by insurance. More information about the financial arrangements for insurance covered surgery can be found on the Consultation Page.