Skin Cancer Treatment in Perth
Skin cancer is the commonest type of cancer in Australia.
Most skin cancer is caused by sun exposure, and many Perth people spend significant amounts of time outside in the sun - therefore it isn’t surprising that Perth has some of the highest rates of skin cancer diagnosis in the world.
Most of the skin cancer diagnosed in Perth is either basal cell carcinoma (BCC) or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Both of these types of skin cancer can start with small skin growths, with the true extent only evident when closely examined by a skin cancer specialist.
Dr. Colbert has completed international fellowships in head and neck cancer treatment, and is able to diagnose and remove skin cancers from any part of the body. It is strongly recommended that anyone with risk factors for skin cancer have regular skin cancer detection checks to ensure treatment has the best chance at success.
Skin cancers are abnormal growths that need to be removed as early as possible.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the commonest type of skin cancer in Perth, and fortunately it cannot spread beyond its original location. Although it often grows slowly it needs to be removed before it grows deep beneath the skin and affects surrounding body parts.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is another common type of skin cancer in Perth, and usually develops in parts of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun (e.g. head, neck, arms). Only rarely can SCC spread from its original location, and if left untreated it can cause significant problems.
Skin cancer removal is a specialist procedure performed by Perth Plastic Surgeon Dr. David Colbert.
The exact nature of your operation will depend on the type, size, and location of your skin cancer.
Smaller skin cancers can be removed under local anaesthesia, and as day case surgery, meaning you can go home the same day. Once the lesion is removed, the wound is closed with sutures (stitches), a dressing applied is applied, and specific follow up instructions with Dr. Colbert are given to you.
Larger skin cancers may be removed under local anaesthesia with some sedation, or sometimes under general anaesthesia (with you asleep). In some cases the wound may be too big to close directly with sutures, and a skin graft or flap may be required. If these treatments are necessary then Dr. Colbert will be discuss them with you during your pre-operative consultation.
Recovery from skin cancer surgery is usually straightforward, with most patients being able to return to their usual activities the following day.
Dr. Colbert personally follows up each patient to ensure your wound is healing without problems, to discuss your results, and to remove stitches.
Scarring after surgery is a common question asked by Perth patients.
As a Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr. Colbert always aims to minimise scarring by using precise plastic surgery techniques, placing scars in hidden locations, and closely monitoring your wounds after the operation.
Surgical scars will often take several months to settle down – they are sometimes initially lumpy, bumpy, red, then after several months they settle to become flat, thin, and pale.
Skin cancer surgery is associated with the following risks:
Wound infection: this may present as redness or discomfort or discharge, and may require a course of antibiotics.
Bleeding, bruising, and haematoma: haematoma refers to a collection of blood that needs to be removed in the operating room.
Delayed wound healing: skin grafts may not completely ‘take’, resulting in further dressings being required.
Scarring: scars are initially lumpy, but settle down over months. Rarely they may be permanently lumpy or thick (hypertrophic or keloid scarring).
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE): DVT refers to a blood clot that forms in a vein in your limb, which can break off and travel to your lung (PE). This can be serious, but is thankfully very rare, especially in skin surgery.
Incomplete excision: there is a small risk (less than 1 in 20) that the lesion is incompletely excised at the time of surgery, resulting in further surgery being recommended.
Skin cancer surgery is like any surgical procedures in that it carries risks - therefore before having any operation you should always speak to an appropriately qualified health practitioner about these potential risks.
Costs associated with plastic surgery and skin cancer surgery in Perth can be confusing.
To help make things clearer we have listed the the following fees that make up the final cost of skin cancer surgery treatment.
Surgical fee: Medicare will partly pay for some surgical procedures that are itemised by the government, however depending on the nature of your operation there will be some out of pocket expenses. Dr Colbert will discuss these costs with you during your consultation.
Anaesthetic fee: Medicare covers most of the anaesthetic fee, except in the case of some cosmetic operations.
Hospital fee (this includes operation room fee, bed costs, surgical or medication fees, and any other hospital extras): Medicare does not cover this fee. If you have private health insurance then this may be covered by your insurance fund, but you should check with your fund if there is any out of pocket expenses. If you have no private insurance then you will have to pay this fee on discharge from the hospital.