Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the nation and, if caught early, is one of the most treatable. In fact, almost 1 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States annually; it is estimated that about half of Americans will develop skin cancer by the time they reach the age of 65. Our facial plastic surgeons offer skin cancer surgery at our Kansas City practice to help patients suffering from a variety of both precancerous and malignant skin cancers. We work closely with Mohs surgeons to ensure complete removal of your skin cancer. We also offer facial skin screening, which facilitates timely treatment of skin cancers at an early stage.
Types of Skin Cancer
Recognizing the initial signs of skin cancer is crucial to swift and comprehensive treatment of the disease. Because the irregular growths and lesions resulting from skin cell damage can vary in appearance, it is imperative to routinely examine the skin for the presence of any abnormalities. The three most prevalent types of skin cancer include:
- Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): The most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma is often characterized by a reddish, flaky patch on the skin; an elevated growth, which may be indented in the center; an open sore; or a white spot resembling a scar. However, the cancer can also be exhibited in other forms. BCC rarely spreads beyond its point of origin, but the cancerous cells can damage the underlying tissue and bone in the immediate area if left untreated.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): Squamous cell carcinoma is a more aggressive form of skin cancer that occurs in the skin’s upper layers (epidermis) and can spread to the lymph nodes and internal organs throughout the body if left untreated. Signs of SCC commonly include an open sore, wart, or a red and scaly growth that appears raised. These symptoms frequently appear on the face, ears, or lips, but can occur virtually anywhere on the body.
- Melanoma: Melanoma is the most malignant and aggressive form of skin cancer. These harmful cancer cells spread rapidly and can eventually reach the liver, lungs, bones, and brain. Untreated melanoma can advance to become metastatic melanoma, wherein successful removal of the cancerous cells can prove very difficult because of their extensive spreading. Sudden changes in pre-existing moles, which commonly take on a darker hue when affected by melanocytes, or new skin growths are common signs of melanoma. These moles or growths necessitate immediate removal.
Each type of skin cancer has its own unique risks and symptoms. If you should notice any irregular developments on the skin, a sudden change in the color, size, or appearance of a mole, or other aberration, this may be an indication of cancerous cells. As soon as you detect an area of concern, an evaluation should be scheduled as quickly as possible. If a comprehensive screening confirms the presence of skin cancer, Dr. J. David Kriet or Dr. Clinton D. Humphrey can determine the most ideal treatment option.
Treatment for Skin Cancer
If it is determined that surgery is the most optimal treatment for your specific skin cancer, there are several methods available to address the cancerous lesions or growths. Our extensively trained facial plastic surgeons will consider the most beneficial procedure to treat the cancer according to your unique needs.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery (MMS)
Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a state-of-the-art method of skin cancer removal that has proven to achieve exceptional results for certain types of skin cancer. This technique removes cancerous lesions one layer at a time for precise and targeted removal while sparing as much healthy skin tissue as possible. Our facial plastic surgeons work closely with oncology experts and Mohs surgeons to eliminate skin cancer using MMS, and can arrange for subsequent Mohs reconstruction surgery to repair skin damage or defects after removal.
This is the traditional method of skin cancer removal and involves surgically excising the lesions or patches of cancerous skin cells. After removal, the skin tissue will be stitched together to close the wound. While this technique can be effective, it often works best when the lesion has well-defined borders; if this is not the case, radiation therapy or another adjunctive treatment may be required to increase the potential for all of the cancerous cells to be eradicated.
Once the skin cancer is removed, Dr. Kriet or Dr. Humphrey can repair the skin around the treated area and improve the appearance of any scarring or disfigurement left after skin cancer removal surgery. In the case that surgery was necessary in the nose or mid-face, our practice offers the nasal reconstruction procedure to restore lost breathing function and correct any physical deformities. Our surgeons are dedicated to achieving natural-looking outcomes and will take great care to minimize any visible scarring and noticeable skin damage.
Please contact Drs. J. David Kriet and Clinton D. Humphrey to schedule a consultation and/or a skin cancer screening at our practice.