Dr. Paul Manson examines a patient.
Skin cancers can be life threatening, especially in cases of melanoma. But it is also one of the easiest cancers to catch early. When caught early, removal of moles and other growths is fairly simple. Occasionally, the removal may be more complex, calling for reconstructive surgery.
There are two main types of skin cancer: melanoma or non-melanoma.
- Melanoma can develop in a pre-existing mole or as a dark spot on the body, most commonly on the head or neck, the back, or the back of the legs. It is characterized by a mole that looks uneven in terms of its border, shape, or color.
- Non-melanoma skin cancers can be either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma often develops as a waxy spot that may crust and bleed when bumped. It tends to grow very slowly, over months to years, and although potentially quite disfiguring and locally invasive, it rarely metastasizes to other parts of the body. Squamous cell carcinoma often looks like a mound of tissue or wounded skin that doesn’t heal. Although not as dangerous as melanoma or many forms of internal cancer, squamous cell carcinoma will occasionally spread to the local lymph glands and on to the rest of the body.
In addition to melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma, there are a number of other much rarer types of skin cancers.
If you are diagnosed with a type of skin cancer, your doctor may recommend surgery as the best option for removing the cancer and preventing its spread. Depending on the type of skin cancer and how much skin and tissue around the cancer needs to be removed, your doctor may recommend a reconstructive surgery to replace the skin and tissue and to minimize scarring.
You can read more about skin cancers and how they are treated at Johns Hopkins on our website for The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center:
Why choose Johns Hopkins for reconstructive surgery after skin cancer?
At Johns Hopkins, our plastic surgeons have experience with all types of reconstruction necessary after skin cancer removal. They have learned about and, in many cases, taught the latest and most effective surgical techniques. In addition to their general expertise in reconstructive surgery, our plastic surgeons have performed a wide range of types of skin grafts and tissue transfers. They are fully skilled at restoring the skin cancer site so that it looks like the skin around it. Because they work at Johns Hopkins, they can call on any other kind of medical expertise needed right at the facility, from pathologists and oncologists to dermatologists.
The surgeons in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department, located in Baltimore, Maryland, are devoted to their profession and that includes consultation with the patients, their families, and others as needed. From the first consultation to the final check-up, our reconstructive surgeons make themselves available and accessible to patients.