At Atlantic Surgical Associates we understand how difficult it can be to deal with cancer. When your life and health hang in the balance, it could be difficult to think of things such as Reconstructive Surgery. But your plastic surgeon can become a part of your treatment team, working hand-in-hand with other physicians you may be seeing, and working in coordination with other treatments you may be going through. Dr. Volshteyn has worked with many patients and their physicians as they have battled cancer.
Some cancers, especially skin cancer, can leave disfigurations — often on the face or other visible areas on the body. Eighty percent of all skin cancers appear on the head, neck and lips because these are the areas with the most sun exposure. Unfortunately for someone who has contracted skin cancer and needs to have the cancer removed, that can mean visible scars or disfigurements.
If you are battling skin cancer — no matter where it is — you can have your plastic surgeon involved with your recovery and healing from the beginning. Plastic Surgeons are trained to create the least visible, best healing scars in the most naturally camouflaged locations. For instance, natural curves, lines and features can be followed when making incisions or suturing incisions. Your plastic surgeon can remove cancerous cells whether by excision, curettage and desiccation, or other forms of major surgery.
Take Steps to Protect Your Health Now
Know your skin and report irregular growths. How familiar are you with your skin? Do you know where are of your moles are? If there was a new lump or bump would you detect it immediately? Become an advocate for your own health and scan your body often — including your back and other areas that may be difficult to see — for any irregularities or changes. And then, if you do find anything, go see your doctor for a medical opinion.
Stay out of the sun. The ultraviolet radiation we receive from the sun is the number-one reason for skin cancer development. While people who live near the equator, in high altitudes or in consistently sunny weather are at a higher risk, everybody should be careful. And it doesn’t have to be sunny for the sun to get to you: ultraviolet radiation has little problem beaming through fog and overcast skies. And for goodness sake: stay away from tanning beds, sun lamps and never tan yourself in the summer.
Use sun protection. But if you do have to be in the sun, wear sunscreen, wear long sleeves, wear a hat. Wear whatever you can to protect your skin. Don’t feel like you have to limit your life — you don’t. Just be smart about protecting your skin. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the tops of ears, knees, and feet and to reapply where it gets easily rubbed off — like on the bridge of your nose from your sunglasses.
Act Sooner Than Later. Do you suspect that you may have skin cancer but are afraid to go to the doctor and have your fears affirmed? Most skin cancers are slow growing, non-spreading basal cell carcinomas that are easy to get rid of. Other types of skin cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (which spread more easily than basal cell carcinomas) and malignant melanomas (which spread easily and grow rapidly). So the message here is: take care of it now. Chances are that if you do have skin cancer it will be easy-to-treat; but if it is something more serious — the earlier you catch it the better your odds are for beating it.