Skin Cancer

How to take care of your skin after skin cancer removal

Helping your skin recover after skin cancer or melanoma surgery

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Team MoleMap Creator
Posted 27/06/19

Treating skin cancer usually begins with the excision of the skin affected by the cancer. This may mean a basic burning, more in-depth scraping, or even a complete excision of the afflicted skin layers to ensure all of the cancer has been removed.

Skin Cancer Removal Recovery

Caring for the wound properly is vital to increase healing, prevent infection, and minimise scarring, which, depending on the location of the cancer, can be very important to patients.

Skin cancer recurrence is relatively low (less than 5% in most cases), but those who have had Basal Cell Carcinoma or Squamous Cell Carcinoma removed have a ten-fold increase in their skin cancer risk. 

But taking care of the wound properly can help to decrease the risk of a recurrence by helping to boost immunity, protect the skin, and make patients more aware of skin changes, which could warn of possible issues.

Wound Care Post–Skin Cancer Removal 

While most skin cancer wounds are relatively small, it’s important to understand that they must be treated as any other surgical wound. 

Remember, good blood supply to the wound is essential for the body to produce enough collagen to heal even the smallest wound. Infection is always a risk, so keeping the wound clean is essential during the healing process.

Here are some basic tips for wound care following your skin cancer removal but remember to always follow the instructions and advice of your medical professional:

  • Remove the dressing about 24 hours after surgery.
  • Wash with clean soapy water. (While you should never soak a fresh wound, it is okay to shower.)
  • Pat dry carefully. (Don’t rub.)
  • Apply antibiotic ointments and any other medications your doctor gave you.
  • Limit your activities. Don’t stretch and pull around the wound. Give the wound a chance to heal by limiting your physical activities for about two weeks.
  • Keep the wound moist. Dry wounds heal slowly, and they tend to scar more, so be sure to keep your wound well moisturised.
  • Protect your scar. Scarred skin is more susceptible to damage from the sun, so be sure to apply sunscreen liberally for about six months after surgery.
  • Follow all of your doctor’s instructions.

Skin Cancer Removal Aftercare: Signs to Watch Out For

While most skin cancer removal surgeries are conducted with no problems, it is important to watch out for bleeding and infection to ensure a safe outcome. If you notice that your wound is bleeding or it is becoming red, swelling, or showing other signs of infection, call your doctor right away.

Learn More about Skin Cancer Removal and Aftercare

Whether you are worried about being at risk of skin cancer, or you’ve just had your skin cancer removed and want to have your skin monitored over time to catch any changes early, contact MoleMap.

MoleMap exists to give patients peace of mind by achieving one of two outcomes: “Great, I know that I don’t have melanoma” or “I’m glad it was found early so it can be treated.”

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