Skin cancer is the most common malignant (cancerous) tumor, and eighty percent of skin cancers occur in the head and neck. The sites at highest risk are the nasal tip, top of the ear, and lower lip. It is well established that ultraviolet light from the sun plays a major role in the development of these tumors. In many cases, skin cancers are preventable with the appropriate use of sunscreen.
Common skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. To determine if a skin abnormality is cancer, a complete head and neck examination and possible biopsy of the lesion may be done. Skin cancers will require surgical excision, followed by reconstruction of the defect. The type of cancer reconstruction depends on the size and location of the defect, as well as the patient's wishes.
Your physician at Suburban Ear, Nose, and Throat has extensive training in the surgical removal and reconstruction of head and neck cancers, including those arising from the skin. Small defects can often be closed with stitches. Larger defects may require skin grafts or local flaps, where skin is borrowed from an area next to the defect. Depending on the cancer type and stage, sometimes a team approach with an ENT, dermatologist, radiation oncologist, and medical oncologist is necessary for the best patient care.
Before and After surgery photos