Skin Cancer and Melanoma Surgery

Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer affecting people across the globe. Cancer, also called malignant neoplasm, occurs when cells in the body divide uncontrollably. Cancer cells develop when the genetic material in the body cells is damaged and the body is unable to repair this damage. These damaged cells divide and multiply uncontrollably forming a tumour mass. Uncontrolled division of skin cells is called skin cancer.

Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, begins in skin cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes produce the pigment, melanin, which determines the colour of skin, hair and eyes. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease. Melanoma begins on the surface of the skin and can grow down into the skin reaching the blood vessels and spread around the body. When cancer spreads it is called metastasis. Melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin but often occurs on sun exposed areas of the body such as arms, face, back and legs. Melanoma cancer can also occur in the eyes, mouth or the internal organs but this is much rarer than melanoma skin cancer. It is a very dangerous type of cancer, and the patient’s chances of survival often depend on early diagnosis and treatment. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and is seen in people of all ages.

Various treatment approaches are available for treating skin cancers and the selection of treatment modality depends on various factors such as the type, location, severity of the cancer, patients’ age & health status and other conditions. The treatment modalities include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgical therapy or combined approach. Surgical approach is considered based on the location, type and size of cancer as well as in cases when other modalities cannot remove the tumours.

The surgical methods to remove tumour mass include:

Curettage and desiccation – Curettage involves scooping out the cancer mass with the help of a spoon–like instrument called a curette. Desiccation is then done by applying an electric current to control bleeding and kill the remaining cancer cells.

Surgical excision – Surgical excision involves removal of the entire tumour mass.

Cryosurgery – In this technique, liquid nitrogen is applied to freeze and kill the abnormal cancer cells.

Laser surgery – Cancer cells are destroyed and their growth is arrested using laser beams.




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