Skin Cancer

What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States each year. This cancer is believed to be a result of extensive exposure to the sun's radiation over a period of time. It is for that reason that the most common locations of this cancer are the exposed parts of the skin, particularly the face and neck.

Types of Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer
There are three types of skin cancer, each representing the malignant change of the three cell types found in the epidermis, or the uppermost layer of the skin.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. Itgrows locally and is less likely to have extensions along its borders through the skin.

Squamous cell carcinoma can have some extensions into the skin bordering the tumor, and may on rare occasions also have cells spread to the lymph nodes.

Malignant melanomais derived from the melanocytes, or the cells in the epidermis that produce the pigment to give color to our skin. These are the cells which cause pigment production after exposure to the sun, leading to the tanning color. These cancers are more likely to have malignant cells migrate a distance from the border of the visible cancer, and are much more capable of spreading to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body.

At Yale Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, we understand that being diagnosed with skin cancer can be frightening. We also understand that you may be equally concerned with the possibility of scars or disfigurement from the cancer and its removal. Our surgeons use specialized surgical techniques to remove the melanoma from all parts of the body surface while preserving your appearance. If necessary, our surgeons can perform reconstruction at the same time that the melanoma is removed.

Treatment for Skin Cancer

At Yale Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, our surgeons and teamof experienced professionals work in tandem with you and your oncologist to create a customized treatment plan. We will explain the plan in detail so that you understand the procedures, the risks, the benefits, the side effects, and the target outcome. 

The surgical procedures to remove these tumors are performed by means of incisions along the natural skin creases to camouflage the healing scars. On occasion, the surgical wound may be large enough to require a skin graft, or a skin flap (skin and fatty tissue) from an adjacent area, to repair the surgical wound.

These operations are commonly performed by our surgeons under local anesthesia or general anesthesia in the outpatient setting. Our surgeons offer the most current surgical procedures available to remove skin cancer from all parts of the body surface. Their goal is to treat skin cancer while retaining the natural appearance of the affected area to the highest possible degree.