Skin Cancer Surgery

Skin Cancer Surgery

CALL 02 4002 4150

Skin Cancer Surgery

Skin cancer is unfortunately prolific in sunny coastal towns like Newcastle, yet often quite treatable if noticed early. Skin cancer excision is the most common procedure that we perform at Avery Plastic Surgery. We operate on patients of any age, with any type of skin cancer, on any part of the body.

Dr Avery has more than a decade of experience in plastic surgery and is highly skilled in all skin cancer excisions and reconstructive surgery techniques, including skin grafts and flap repairs.

Types of Skin Cancer

There are three main types of skin cancer:

  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)

  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

  • Melanoma

BCC and SCC are commonly referred to as non-melanomaskin cancers.

Basal Cell Carcinoma
The least dangerous and most common type of skin cancer, BCC grows slowly and rarely spreads. If left untreated however, it can extend deep below the skin causing serious damage to the underlying tissue and bone.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma
The second most common type of skin cancer, SCC grows faster than BCC and can develop in a matter of weeks or months. SSC has the potential to spread to other parts of the body and become life threatening if left untreated.

Melanoma
Australia and New Zealand have the world’s highest incidence rate for melanoma. The most dangerous form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma is capable of spreading throughout the body via the lymphatic system. The effects of melanoma can escalate quickly, often becoming life threatening if not treated early.

Causes of Skin Cancer

The majority of skin cancers in Australia are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and other sources such as solariums. Skin cells often become damaged and cancerous through exposure to strong or consistent UV radiation.

UV radiation is most damaging for skin when it reaches a moderate UV Index level of 3 or higher. High UV Index levels can occur even on cold, cloudy days and usually reach their peak between 10am and 3pm.

People with pale skin have less of the pigment melanin, which can to protect the skin by blocking out some UV rays up to a point. This is why people with darker skin are less likely to get sunburned than those with light skin. Regardless of skin tone or ethnicity, all skin cells can potentially be damaged by the sun and become cancerous.

95% of melanomas are caused by sunburn, yet even when there are no visible signs of burning, skin cells can still be damaged. Sun tanning and the use of solariums expose the skin to dangerous levels of UV radiation and greatly increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

Signs & Symptoms of Skin Cancer

If your skin is prone to freckles and moles, it can be difficult to tell the difference between an ordinary spot and skin cancer. The first 5 letters of the alphabet can serve as a helpful guide when looking for signs of an abnormal mole:

Asymmetry
Regular moles are often symmetrical and round, while skin cancers can be irregular in shape.

Border
Melanoma can often have an uneven, jagged border surrounding it. The borders of non-melanoma cancers and regular moles are generally more defined.

Colour
Most regular moles are one single shade of brown. Malignant skin cancers can often appear blotchy in colour, with different shades of brown, black, red, pearl, or even blue.

Diameter
Skin cancers tend to grow in size, while normal moles and freckles usually stay the same size. Moles larger than 6mm in diameter should be checked by a skin cancer professional.

Evolving
Be aware of any new moles or changes in existing moles regarding shape, size, or colour. Other symptoms of skin cancer may include itching, bleeding, or crusting.

In addition to these, different types of skin cancer will usually present their own unique symptoms:

Symptoms of BCC
A Basal Cell Carcinoma can develop anywhere, but usually appears on areas of the body which receive frequent and intermittent sun exposure such as the head, neck, shoulders, and back. It may present as a pearly lump, or a dry, scaly area that is pale or bright pink in colour.

Symptoms of SCC
Squamous Cell Carcinoma is often found in areas of the body which receive the most sun exposure, such as the head, neck, hands, and forearms. It may present as a rapidly growing lump, a scaly red spot, or give the appearance of a sore that has not healed.

Symptoms of Melanoma
Melanomas can appear anywhere on the body but are most frequently found in areas which receive the most sun exposure such as such as the head, neck, shoulders, back, hands and forearms. Signs of a melanoma may be detected through the appearance of a new freckle or mole, or changes in size, shape, or colour of an existing mole.

Skin Cancer Surgery

Often quite treatable if detected early, skin cancer surgery is the most common procedure that we perform at Avery Plastic Surgery. We operate on patients of any age, with any type of skin cancer on any part of the body.  Dr Avery has over a decade of experience in plastic surgery and is highly skilled in all types of skin cancer excisions and reconstructive surgery techniques, skin grafts and flap repairs

Preventing Skin Cancer

The majority of skin cancers in Australia are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and other sources such as solariums. Skin cells often become damaged and cancerous through exposure to strong or consistent UV radiation.  Reducing the skin’s exposure to UV radiation can greatly minimise the risk of developing skin cancer.

Skin Checks

Checking your skin regularly and thoroughly is essential for early detection of all types of skin cancer. Look over your whole body in a full-length mirror and use a small mirror or ask another person to check areas where you can’t see. If you find any of the signs & symptoms above, have the spots checked by your GP or a skin specialist.

Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
Australian Medical Association New South Wales Member
Member Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons
Australian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

Avery Plastic Surgery

31 Watt Street Newcastle NSW 2300

Suite1, Ground Floor
31-33 Watt Street, Newcastle 2300

Contact

Dr Gary Avery
FRACS (Plast Surg) Plastic, Cosmetic, and Reconstructive Surgeon

Call 02 4002 4150
Fax 02 4002 4160
Suite1, Ground Floor
31-33 Watt Street, Newcastle 2300
PO Box 625 Newcastle 2300

Enquiries