Skin Cancer

More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually in the United States making it the most common form of cancer diagnosed and treated here.

Although the incidence of many other cancers continues to fall, the rate of skin cancer continues to rise.

Management of Skin Cancer

The most common form of skin cancer is basal cell cancer. This originates from the lower layer of the skin but has as its origin, as do the other forms of skin cancer; a person’s genetic makeup and our exposure to the radiation of the sun or tanning beds.

Squamous cell cancer starts in the middle layer of the skin and may spread beyond the local lesion.

Melanoma originates in the pigment cells called melanoytes and although less common, it is more aggressive due to its ability to spread early before it is recognized.


Treatment options vary dependent on cancer type and other factors such as location, involvement locally and or regionally and the patient’s health status.

Currently, surgical excisions are the most common approach for many skin cancers. These excisions may often be initiated at the office of a dermatologist or simply a biopsy at the family physicians office. The management beyond that is often uniform with a dermatologist acting as the one to excise, monitor surgical edges for completeness of removal (Mohs surgery) and being the one to repair. In many cases the facial plastic surgeons at our office aid your dermatologist in these repairs. In many cases, as well, our surgeons will perform a wide excision and repair. In cases around the eyes, ears or nasal areas they will monitor these surgical margins with the aid of a specialized dermatopathologist microscopic histologic — frozen section control analysis. The excision and repair being then completed in a hospital setting. In many circumstances patients ask for some sedation during the procedures. The success rate for control under these circumstances is extremely high. Management of melanoma also includes a wider team approach to monitor for further complications.


With surgical excision being at the forefront of skin cancer management, repair of facial cancers becomes specialized, while smaller defects can be repaired simply approximating the edges, larger defects may require rotating in skin locally for the best cosmetic and functional result. In some areas bringing in skin for repair may be completely detached and then tailored to approximate size for the defect. This is termed a skin graft. These grafting techniques may be of like thickness skin (full thickness graft) or if over a larger surface area a split graft thickness graft may be required.

Our facial plastic specialists have years of experience for determining the best type of repairs for our patients in these repairs.