Skin cancer – the most common form of cancer in the U.S. – appears primarily on the face, head or neck, where it can be disfiguring as well as dangerous. There are many types of skin cancers. Some lesions are small, fairly simple to excise and may leave only slight scars. Other cancers are larger or require a more complex and disfiguring excision to ensure that all the cancer is removed. Generally, most facial lesions are removed by a plastic surgeon to minimize scarring and, should it be necessary, leave the surgical site ready for reconstruction. Among the most effective skin cancer surgical treatments is Mohs surgery, which can be disfiguring and nearly always requires reconstructive surgery.
Dr. Chariker is highly experienced in reconstructive surgery following a Mohs procedure. He employs a range of specialized reconstruction techniques to cosmetically improve or rebuild facial features disfigured by cancer surgery, as well as to restore impaired functionality. He also performs primary skin cancer excision. Most insurance carriers cover the cost of reconstructive surgery.
Types of Skin Cancer
The primary cause of skin cancer is ultraviolet radiation from the sun, sunlamps and tanning booths. The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, which tends to grow slowly and rarely spreads beyond its original site. Though seldom life-threatening, if left untreated basal cell carcinoma can grow deep beneath the skin and into the underlying tissue and bone, causing serious damage, particularly if it's located near the eye.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the next most common kind of skin cancer, frequently appearing on the lips, face or ears. It sometimes spreads to distant sites, including lymph nodes and internal organs. It can become life threatening if not treated.
The least common skin cancer, malignant melanoma, is also the most dangerous and its incidence is increasing rapidly, especially in the Sunbelt states. If discovered early enough, it can be completely cured. If it's not treated quickly, however, malignant melanoma may spread throughout the body and is often deadly.
Two other common types of skin growths are moles and keratoses. Moles are clusters of heavily pigmented skin cells, either flat or raised above the skin surface. While most pose no danger, some may develop into malignant melanoma. Moles are frequently removed for cosmetic reasons, or because they're constantly irritated by clothing or jewelry. Solar or actinic keratoses are rough, red or brown, scaly patches on the skin. They are usually found on areas exposed to the sun and sometimes develop into squamous cell cancer.