Skin cancer is a very common affliction in our society. In the Darling Downs we have one of the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. This is due to a combination of our heritage and genetic skin types which come from high in the northern hemisphere. Many skin cancers are quite small and are in areas that are simple to treat. Many cancers however arise in areas that are cosmetically sensitive and reconstruction is tricky. It does take experience and training to determine what form of reconstruction is going to give the most reliable result in any particular zone.
The skin cancers that our Surgeon’s treat most frequently are on the face and especially around the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. They are also specifically involved in skin cancer surgery of the hand and lower leg which are other difficult reconstructive zones. Dr Magnusson and Dr Bangash both perform skin cancer surgery in other locations, especially in patients with multiple tumours, more aggressive skin cancers (melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma) and for patients with very large tumours.
Some patients who live outside Toowoomba will be able to have their initial postoperative dressing performed by their local Doctor to limit the amount of travel required. In many instances however, the type of reconstruction and intricacy of the surgery will mean that your local GP will have limited experience in assessing the results of the skin cancer surgery. Unfortunately this will mean that many patients will have to come for postoperative assessment one week following surgery. Under routine circumstances, our Surgeon’s will also see patients six weeks following surgery.
Patients with more aggressive tumours will require follow-up. On many occasions this can be shared with your GP to limit the amount of travel.
While most patients will heal uneventfully and the result will be subtle scars, some patients will have scars that are slower to settle. In most instances this will relate to the genetics of scar formation. Our Surgeon’s will keep following patients until the maximum result has been achieved irrespective of the pathology of the skin cancer.
Many skin cancers can be managed with local anaesthetic alone. Many patients will prefer to have either twilight sedation or a general anaesthetic for more some of the more complex procedures our Surgeon’s perform.
When procedures are performed under local anaesthetic they can take place in the operating suite at our clinic or in a Hospital. If patients prefers sedation or a general anaesthetic, all of these patients need to be treated at a hospital. Many patients will still be managed as a day case (discharged on the same days surgery). Those patients who require admission will need to be treated as either the St Vincent’s Hospital or St Andrews Hospital in Toowoomba. Most patients with day surgery will be managed at The Toowoomba Surgicentre.
Usually not. Although we fully understand the complexities of arranging daily life especially when long distances are involved, it is not always possible to ascertain what form of procedure you will require for the management of your tumour. When at all possible, we can tentatively schedule surgery to be done on the day of your consultation or on the following day to minimise the number of trips you need to make to Toowoomba. If you would like to try and arrange your surgery to fit with your trip to Toowoomba, you can talk with the staff at our clinic so that we can see if it is possible. Despite our best intentions, we may find that the complexity of treating your problem may require that these plans are abandoned and a later date for surgery is created.