I have been diagnosed with skin cancer, what’s next?

After a diagnosis of skin cancer the doctor will discuss treatment options, which may be as simple as a 5 minute procedure to perform curettage and cautery to the lesion, or a surgical procedure to formally excise the lesion with appropriate margins.  Most excisions are done as an elipse and suture ie the lesion is cut out as a boat shape of skin, and the edges brought together using a combination of deep dissolving and superficial sutures which are removed a week later.  Occasionally for more difficult or cosmetically sensitive areas, a flap or a graft may need to be used to maintain a normal appearance or function post skin cancer excision.  Sometimes radiotherapy or further testing may be needed for high risk lesions.

Radiotherapy is often used where there is an inoperable lesion or where surgery is not practical such as peri- neural invasion of cancer. High risk cases of melanoma may warrant testing with CT scans, PET scans, or sentinel lymph node biopsy. 

Your doctor will inform you about the nature of the cancer you have and if further testing and or treatment is necessary.