Skin cancer surgery, treatment and after-care support in Cairns
A large portion of procedures undertaken at Cairns Plastic Surgery are skin cancer related.
Located in sunny Cairns, we are unfortunately some of the most prone Aussies to the devastating dangers of the sun.
Melanoma is the second most common cancer diagnosis for both females and males in Far North Queensland, while the median age for diagnosis is 63.
Our skin cancer clinic is located across the road from Cairns Private Hospital. Procedures take place at both locations.
Types of skin cancer
There are three main types of skin cancer:
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
Basal cell skin cancer and Squamous cell skin cancer
BCC and SCC are often grouped together, and combined, they are referred to as “non-melanoma” skin cancers.
BCC is also commonly referred to as simply “basal cell” skin cancer, and accounts for about 70% of non-melanoma skin cancer.
While commonly benign, both BCC and SCC skin cancers spread slowly and are usually localised. They are unlikely to spread if they are identified and treated early.
Melanoma skin cancer
While melanoma is less common than BCC or SCC, it is more aggressive and dangerous. It can spread more easily and faster throughout the body and to other organs.
Early detection and swift treatment is critical in successfully treating melanoma skin cancers.
The key misconception about skin cancer? While it’s indeed the main cause, the sun is not the only cause of skin cancer – your genetics can play a role, too.
Skin cancer surgery
Skin cancer – face
As perhaps the part of the body that is exposed to the most sunlight, it’s no wonder that a majority of skin cancers are on the head, face, and neck.
Further, areas like the scalp, hairline, ears, and lips are susceptible as people sometimes do not remember or consider covering these areas with sun protection.
Skin cancer – body
This dermatologist suspects that people under-apply sunscreen to the chest and neck region, which can not only lead to skin cancer, but also to sun damaged and wrinkled skin.
However, it’s not just sun exposed regions – in some rarer cases, skin cancer can develop even on areas of the body that have little sun exposure, such as the soles of the feet and even around the genitals.
Skin cancer treatment
There are two main types of treatments for skin cancer: surgical and non-surgical.
Surgical skin cancer treatment means the skin cancer is cut out. This means an incision is made around the cancer as well as surrounding healthy skin (called the “margin”) to ensure all dangerous cells are removed.
Most surgical procedures are conducted under local anesthesia, where the area is is used to numb the area,
Non-surgical skin cancer treatments can involve one or more of the following solutions:
A lotion, gel, or cream applied directly to the skin is also referred to as “topical chemotherapy”. Your skin cancer specialist will explain how you should apply the cream, and how often.
This specialist laser treatment carefully removes layers of skin in order to fully remove a lesion.
Radiotherapy is a suitable treatment for many cases of BCC or SCC skin cancer. Powerful energy rays are used to effectively kill cancer cells.
Unlike topical chemo (like the creams described above), “systemic” chemotherapy may involve injecting treatment directly into a vein, or taken orally.
Skin cancer checks
Have you had your skin checked lately? If the answer is no, we urge you to book in a skin check at Cairns Plastic Surgery.
Both Dr Isolde Hertess and Dr Michael Stapelberg perform skin checks and skin cancer removal and treatments, and we are also pleased to offer Telehealth consultations, which take place online from the comfort of your home.
We also encourage you to get to know your body better: perform skin checks once a month and keep an eye on any abnormalities or changes to moles and freckles.
Additionally, organise a skin check from a trusted professional once a year. Contact us today to organise your next check.