Most of the time skin cancer can be prevented with sunscreen and sun protection. However there are certain genetic predispositions and medical conditions that put some people at significantly higher risk of developing skin cancer despite sunscreen and protection. Like most medical problems, early detection is the key. Skin cancer treatment can be very deforming if the cancer is left unchecked and allowed to grow, destroying local anatomy. When appropriately treated early on, extensive reconstruction can be avoided.
Skin cancers are treated with excision to negative margin to reduce risk of local recurrence. Lymph nodes might need to be examined to check for metastasis there, especially true for melanoma. The specimen is marked for orientation and is examined by a pathologist to confirm that all the margins are clear or that the entire cancer has been removed. For sensitive areas on the face, Mohs surgery is often performed by the dermatologist first to minimize the amount of tissue removed. Mohs surgery is able to confirm negative margins on the same day.
Regardless of the technique used for excision of the skin cancers, the defect left after the excision then needs to be closed. If the defect is small it can be closed directly with sutures. If the defect is large, reconstruction surgery is needed to close the defect. Many different techniques are used for these types of reconstruction. Surgical plans will be customized to your needs after throughout evaluation. (See before and after photos of skin cancer reconstruction surgery)