Study Indicates Need for Improved Skin Cancer Care

Skin cancers like squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma are routinely treated in physician’s offices here in Manhattan. Dermatologists and plastic surgeons use a variety of methods to excise a skin cancer lesion and close the wound, taking care to minimize negative aesthetic outcomes that can occur.

A recent study, reported this week in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggests that quality of care should be improved for skin cancer. Researchers tracked 866 patients who were treated for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. When analyzing medical records and patient-reported complications, they found that more than one quarter of the patients had some type of complication. Meanwhile, only 3 percent of the doctors had noted any complication in patient records.

Why the discrepancy? Dr. Eleni Linos, who led the research team, suggested that patients may have “a broader view of what counts as a complication” and that doctors may also be missing chances to inquire about these issues after treatment.

About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer affects over 1 million Americans every year. It’s the most common form of cancer. When it’s diagnosed early, skin cancer is treatable, but has the potential to cause scars. Patients should seek out care from a skilled dermatologist or surgeon who will take care to maintain skin integrity and minimize unwanted cosmetic defects.

For basic lesions, treatment involves surgical removal with a scalpel or laser. A small incision is made around the lesion, using a local anesthetic to control discomfort. The lesion is removed and the incision is then closed using fine sutures. For many cases, a specialized technique called Mohs surgery is recommended. This involves precise removal of tissue followed by analysis under a microscope.

Learn more about Mohs Surgery at Sadick Dermatology.