What to expect after you’ve had skin cancer treatment

29 January 2019

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers, but the nature and extent of your treatment will be determined by the type of skin cancer you have, and how early it has been detected.

Amongst the many emotions you may be feeling after being diagnosed with skin cancer, you can be assured that your surgeon and other medical professionals will be on hand to give you all of the support you need.

Here’s what to expect after you’ve had skin cancer treatment.

1. After your surgery

The cancerous mole or tumour can usually be removed by surgical excision. This procedure is usually non-invasive and will only require local anaesthetic, but a general anaesthetic may be used if your cancer is in its latter stages.

For melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer treatments, you may need some recovery time before you’ll be feeling back to your normal self.

You may also experience a number of side effects, including pain, swelling, numbness, infection and/or fatigue but your surgeon will discuss these with you before your procedure.

2. After radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy

It’s rare, but you may require radiotherapy or chemotherapy after your skin cancer treatment.

You can expect your recovery time to take a little longer due to how invasive these preventative procedures can be.

You may need to undergo a number of sessions, all of which will leave you feeling very weak and tired and potentially nauseous.

Please refer to NHS charities such as Macmillan or Cancer Research for additional support or counselling during your post-op treatment.

3. Follow up appointments

Depending on the type of skin cancer you need, after your surgery, you may need additional follow-up appointments to ensure the cancer has not returned. Usually, these appointments are twice a year, but you will be individually assessed depending on the stage of cancer for which you had treatment.

If you do need a follow-up appointment, your doctor can refer you for a biopsy, ultrasound or CT scan to analyse your skin further to check if any cancerous cells have returned.

You may also require other specialist skin services, such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon if your surgery caused any significant scarring or disfigurements.

We recommend booking a consultation with us if you wish to learn more about our scar improvement treatments.

What you can do

If you’ve had skin cancer, you are at a higher risk of getting it again. You should therefore undertake a series of preventative measures to ensure your cancer does not re-develop, and your surgeon and doctors will provide you with more information on what those measures will be, based on your circiumstances.

You should generally avoid going out into direct sunlight for long durations, but using high SPF (at least factor 15) sunscreen can help protect you from harmful UV rays.

If you spot any other signs or symptoms of skin cancer after or in-between your follow-up appointments, do not hesitate to get back in contact with your GP or book a skin cancer check-up appointment with us.

Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer can be treated here at Skin Scar Clinic. See the treatment section on our website for more information on skin cancer treatments.

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