Skin Cancer Surgery

Skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide after Breast, Lung, Colorectal, and Prostate cancer. It is categorized into Melanoma and Non-Melanoma skin cancers (of which Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Basal Cell Carcinoma are the most common). The most common cause of skin cancers, apart from Genetic Predisposition, age and skin tone, is prolonged exposure to sunlight (UV radiation). Melanoma is one of the most lethal cancers worldwide, with as small as a 5mm cancer responsible for 80% of all skin cancer deaths.

An expedited and skillful diagnosis and management of skin cancer is essential to preserving life, function and form. Diagnosis is normally done via a biopsy and the method used for management of skin cancers varies with the type and stage of the cancer. Surgery remains the gold standard of treatment for skin cancer, and reconstructive options dependent on the final defect to be repaired. The surgery is often complex due to the sensitive facial structures (eyes, nose, lips, ears) and involves rearranging of tissue surrounding the resection to hide the scars in the natural contours of the face.


Depending on the type of skin cancer and age of the patient surgery is performed with a local anesthesia or general anesthesia, and is variable but often short amount of downtime can be expected. There may be swelling and bruising can take up to 14 days to settle. More extensive reconstruction may require the patient to stay in hospital overnight with a longer period to heal.