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Skin cancer treatment

Cancer of the skin - the abnormal growth of skin cells - is very common in the UK. It most often develops on sun-exposed skin. Cancer can also occur on parts of your skin not normally exposed to the sun.

Melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma are the three major types of skin cancer.

Skin cancer can be detected at its earliest stages by checking the skin for suspicious changes. Early detection gives the greatest chance of successfully treating it.

To diagnose skin cancer, your consultant may:

To diagnose skin cancer, your consultant will examine your skin to determine whether any skin changes are likely to be due to skin cancer.

If your consultant determines that you have skin cancer by examination alone, it may be arranged that the skin cancer be removed with a margin of normal skin (excision) as an outpatient procedure under local anaesthetic.

Tests used for skin cancer

A preliminary skin biopsy is sometimes needed to confirm the diagnosis. This is done as an outpatient procedure under local anaesthetic. It involves removing a sample of suspicious skin for histopathology testing.

It may help to determine whether or not there is skin cancer, and which type. If the histopathology shows certain types of cancer, your consultant may recommend further tests, as well as complete removal of the skin cancer.

Additional tests might include a procedure to remove a nearby lymph node and test it for signs of cancer (sentinel lymph node biopsy), and/or a radiological scan.

Treatment for skin cancer

The treatment options for skin cancer and skin lesions vary, depending on the size, type, depth and location of the lesions. Small skin cancers limited to the surface of the skin may be treated by excision. Some very superficial ones can be treated with creams such as 5-fluorouracil. More advanced skin cancers might require radiotherapy.

The treatment options will be discussed with you at your consultation. All treatments for skin cancer at Sulis Hospital are under local anaesthetic and are a very relaxed experience.

Treatment Overview

Combining a calming hospital environment with outstanding patient care so you can recover as quickly as possible.

  • Typical hospital stay Day case

  • Type of anaesthetic Local

  • Covered by health insurance? Yes

  • Can I pay privately? Yes

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