Being diagnosed with skin cancer can be frightening enough, and it’s understandable that you might have additional fears if it affects your face.
Treating skin cancer often means having the cancerous mole or lesion removed, and while the aim here is a very important one – to prevent the cancer from spreading – it’s completely natural to have concerns about scarring.
Here are 5 common questions and points to consider:
1: Will I be left with a scar?
There’s always a degree of scarring with any surgical procedure. However, exactly what this means varies greatly, largely depending on what the skin cancer removal entails – so the type of skin cancer, where it’s located (for example, removing a cancerous mole from the cheeks can be different to removing skin cancer affecting the eyelid), how deep it is and how much skin will need to be removed – and also on other individual factors that might affect the healing process. We’ll always do our best to help minimise scarring, through careful consideration of where incisions are placed, using the latest innovative techniques, and ensuring you get the best aftercare advice.
2: Being prepared really helps
Undergoing any type of surgical procedure or treatment involving your face can be daunting – but being prepared for what’s in store can really help. Here at The Face Surgeons, doing our best to ensure you feel well informed about what’s happening with your treatment, and what to expect afterwards, is really important to us, so don’t be afraid to ask any questions you might have.
3: Early diagnosis can make a big difference
Generally, the earlier skin cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat – which can be good news in terms of avoiding significant scarring too. So the important thing for us all to remember is: if you notice any unusual mole changes, new moles developing, or sores, lesions or scaly patches on your skin that just aren’t healing, get them checked by a specialist as soon as possible.
4: What else can affect scarring?
A number of factors can affect healing and scarring. Some of these are out of our control – such as age and genetics. And some of them are things we can try and do our best to address, such as not smoking (smoking is known to negatively affect the healing process), taking steps to avoid infection (your consultant and nurses will be able to help and advise you on this), following any other aftercare advice in relation to caring for your wound as it heals, and generally taking good care of yourself, by eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting plenty of sleep.
5: Can things be done to reduce a ‘bad’ scar?
Sometimes, yes. There are some additional treatments designed to improve the appearance of scars, which may be suitable in some cases. If facial scarring from skin cancer removal is causing you any problems, physically or psychologically, you might want to consider making an appointment to discuss any options that might be available to help.
Concerned about facial skin cancer or scarring from skin cancer treatment? Make an appointment to talk to our specialist, Helen Witherow.