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Brisbane Skin Cancer Treatment/Surgery at our Queensland Practice
With the many bright and beautiful sunny days that Australia is known for, skin damage from the sun's rays is very common, and also dangerous. At our facilities in Mackay and Brisbane, non-invasive skin cancer treatment and skin cancer surgery can be performed. As a plastic surgeon, Dr. Phillip Bushell-Guthrie treats patients suffering from a variety of skin cancers.

Sun Damaged Skin
Ultra-violet (UV) radiation from the sun's rays damages skin cells and can cause skin cancer. Fair-skinned people are more prone to sun damage and often develop some form of skin cancer by age 40. This is why the importance of using sun block that protects against both UV-A and UV-B rays and being sun smart cannot be overstated. Sun damage is seen as:

  • Freckling
  • Excess pigmentation
  • Wrinkling/sagging skin
  • Hyperkeratoses (sun spots)
  • Skin cancer

Two main factors that are thought to produce sun damage are the total amount of sun exposure you have had, as well as how many times you have been sunburned.
At Dr. Phillip Bushell-Guthrie's Skin Elegance clinic, our staff can evaluate your skin and advise you on how to reverse any damage that has occurred. We can also help to prevent further damage and guide you on the path to smooth, youthful-looking skin with a decreased risk of skin cancer.
Please contact our Mackay and Brisbane based plastic surgeon, for more information on the treatment of sun damage and skin cancers.

Types of Skin Cancers
Anyone who spends time in the sun is at risk of developing skin cancer. There are a variety of types of skin cancers, each with their own particular risks. Early detection and treatment is vital. The three main types of skin cancer are:

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. BCC's do not break off and spread to other areas of skin on the body; however, they are very destructive and, in some cases, can follow nerves to the brain, causing death. BCC's appear as raised, red patches, lumps, or non-healing ulcers. They often grow slowly and can become very large in size.
Our skin cancer surgery expert in the Queensland region can determine the type of cancer you may have and treat it.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous Cell Carcinomas, or SCC's, are true cancers of the skin and are capable of metastasizing. When this happens, the SCC breaks off and spreads to other parts of the body. They tend to grow faster than BCC's, however they are very similar in appearance. They are dangerous and can lead to death if left untreated.

Malignant Melanomas
Malignant melanomas are the most deadly form of skin cancer. They grow and metastasize rapidly, spreading to other areas of the body. Malignant melanomas often lead to death if not detected and treated early. This type of skin cancer typically appears as a dark spot on the skin, sometimes arising from an existing freckle. Malignant melanomas start off as a flat spot, and become raised as they grow. For patients who notice a change in a freckle or a new dark spot that wasn't on the skin before, it is vital to have it checked immediately. Patients should also be particularly conscious of checking their backs for skin damage on a regular basis.

Skin Cancer Surgery
Skin cancer surgery from our Queensland plastic surgeon involves early surgical excision of the damaged area, followed by repair. The larger the cancer, the larger the excision will be, and the longer the scars will be. In addition to the possibly fatal consequences of leaving a cancerous area on the skin untreated, the potential for more scarring after surgery is another reason for having skin lesions excised in their earliest stages.

After excising the cancerous part of the skin, Dr. Phillip Bushell-Guthrie will repair the area using direct closure, a skin flap or a skin graft. Dr. Bushell-Guthrie understands that people would like any residual scarring to be as minimal as possible, particularly on the face. That's why he uses skin flaps whenever possible as these are less conspicuous than skin grafts. Dr. Bushell-Guthrie is a specialist plastic surgeon with extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer, and is an expert in the field of skin flap surgery. He will discuss the procedure with you in detail prior to surgery.

Minor excisions are often performed under local anaesthesia here at our facility; however, it can also be carried out in a private hospital under general anaesthesia or sedation. The tissue that is excised will be sent off for testing.

Stitches for tissue excisions of facial areas are removed after about one week; those for other areas of the body typically come out at about two weeks. Scars will be red after the procedure, and you should keep them out of the sun for at least two months. Patients with malignant melanomas and certain types of squamous cell carcinomas will need prolonged follow-up examinations after surgery.

Non-Surgical Skin Cancer Treatment
For precancerous skin conditions such as hyperkeratosis (sun spots), intra-epidermal carcinomas (Bowen's Disease), and very early basal cell carcinomas, skin cancer surgery may not be necessary. Our plastic surgeon may be able to treat those conditions by freezing the area or by using certain creams. Patients should keep in mind that these non-surgical treatments can result in ulceration, swelling, redness, crusting, and can also leave white patches. Clearance of the lesions with these treatments are only about 60 percent successful, so prolonged follow-up examinations will be required. Any recurrence of the condition will necessitate surgical excision.

Copyright © 2008 Dr. Phillip Bushell-Guthrie