How do skin cancer treatments work?

  • skin cancer treatment

Living in Australia – and Cairns in particular – without enjoying the sun and the beach is like living without water and air. It simply can’t be done!

We Aussies spend a lot of time in the sun, whether it’s at work, sunbathing, or simply our outdoors-y lifestyle.

We Aussies are also keenly aware of the risks of skin damage and especially skin cancer.

Skin cancer has been one of the most common types of cancer in Australia – after all, two out of three Australians are diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they reach 70.

Not only that, we also have the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, despite our relatively smaller population.

That’s why it’s important to protect yourself with sunscreen, a good hat and shade.

It’s also important to have your skin checked frequently, especially if you spend a lot of time out in the sun!

Sound like you? If so, it’s a good idea to book a skin check – and if necessary, skin cancer surgery – with Cairns Plastic Surgery.

Causes of skin cancer

Overexposure to the sun

The majority of skin cancer cases affect the face, head, neck, hands, and arms. And it’s no coincidence that these are also the parts of your skin that receive the most exposure – and the least coverage.

This is why sun protection is important day in and day out, as the most vulnerable parts of your skin are often hard to take care of. Your lips, ears, scalp, hairline – each of these can be difficult to protect.

The solution? Using sunscreen, shades, a wide-brimmed hat, and more to protect your skin while you’re out and about.

Family history and genetics

While sun exposure is often the main reason behind cases of skin cancer, there are other things that can increase your risk – for example, genetics can have a huge factor in increasing your risk of a skin condition.

If you have a family history of skin cancer, there is a higher chance that it might also occur in you.

And who could forget about genetics?

Depending on your ancestry, your skin may be more sensitive to UV.

Specifically, the melanin in your skin confers a degree of natural protection – something that people who hail from areas such as northern Europe lack.

This is why scheduling a regular skin test makes you informed about your skin condition.


Abnormal moles that are larger than normal moles may be benign now, but they have a higher risk of developing into skin cancer further down the line.

Luckily, by keeping a close eye on these moles, you can keep on top of any potential growths.

It is best to look out for any inconsistencies in size, colour and shape, as well as feelings of itchiness or discomfort that weren’t there before. All of these can tell you that something is not right in your moles.

History of sunburns

Do you burn, or tan? Truthfully, neither of these are great for your skin – however, one is worse than the other!

If you burn, you have a higher risk of developing skin cancer, plain and simple.

People who have experienced sunburns often may have a high risk of developing skin cancer. 

Radiation exposure

UV radiation isn’t the only type of radiation that can cause skin cancer – so too can other types of radiation.

Certain types of radiation have the potential to damage your DNA and increase your risk of cancer – and that includes skin cancer.

Whether you work around radioactive materials or have recently undergone radiation therapy for things like acne or eczema may mean a higher risk of skin cancer. 

Weak immune system

According to some studies, there’s a direct link between the strength of your immune system and the development and progression of cancer.,

People who have weak immune systems may be at higher risk of developing skin cancer – in particular, people who have undergone organ transplant are especially vulnerable.

How skin cancer removal surgery works

While there are a range of different treatments for skin cancer, the vast majority are treated with surgery.

In particular, non-melanomas such as Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are unlikely to spread, and if they do, they usually spread slowly – as such, surgery can be an effective way of removing the risk.

Skin cancer removal focuses on locating and removing these types of cancer before they are able to grow into nearby areas.

Skin cancer surgery can be carried out by a dermatologist or a specialist plastic surgeon. There are a range of different surgical procedures possible…


After applying a local anesthetic, your plastic surgeon in Cairns will cut the growth out with a surgical knife, as well as some of the surrounding skin.

After the cancer has been excised, the remaining skin is carefully stitched back together, leaving a scar. In some cases, a skin graft or tissue flap might also be needed as well.

This is the simplest and most straightforward form of skin cancer surgery – since it leaves scarring however, it isn’t suited for areas such as faces.

In these cases, you may need to opt for a different type of skin cancer treatment…

skin cancer surgery

Non-surgical treatments

In addition to surgery, our team also offers a range of non-surgical treatments as well!

Your general practitioner may refer you to a plastic surgeon for skin cancer treatment under the following circumstances:

  • Your case involves larger skin cancer excisions that need skin flaps or grafts
  • Skin cancer treatment will occur in an sensitive area like the eyes, nose, ears or lips
  • Specialised laser treatment is required

Depending on the exact type of cancer, our team may be able to offer a range of non-surgical treatments to help.

We can even offer scar removal and revision after skin cancer surgery, reducing visible scarring.

Early detection is key

Melanomas are the most dangerous type of skin cancer, with a high risk of spreading extremely quickly to other organs of the body.

Early detection is critical with these types of cancer.

In addition to treating cancer once it pops up, our plastic surgeons in Cairns can also help you detect cancer early on.

In many cases, a biopsy is needed to make a skin cancer diagnosis.

This is a process that’s usually performed under local anaesthesia, where a sample of the tissue is taken out and sent to a lab for analysis.

And as a form of surgery, it’s something that our plastic surgeons in Cairns can do for you.

Not just cosmetic – book a skin cancer test with Cairns Plastic Surgery

We don’t just do plastic surgery in Cairns – if needed, we can also help identify and protect you from skin cancer, the most common type in Australia.

You want what’s best for your skin. Whether it’s a skin cancer check, a biopsy or skin cancer removal surgery, our team can help you with that.

Our friendly team does their best to ensure that you’re comfortable throughout the experience – learning that you might have skin cancer is a terrifying thought, after all.

We’re here to look after your skin. With skin cancer procedures for growths on both your body and your face, our team is able to protect you from skin cancer.

Schedule a skin check from one of Cairns Plastic Surgery’s trusted skin experts today – book your next check-up or call (07) 4031 5755 today.