Hearing the word "cancer" when receiving a diagnosis can be a terrifying experience, and receiving a skin cancer diagnosis is no different. Fortunately, skin cancer has a fantastic recovery rate when it's caught early and treated promptly. If you're scheduled to undergo skin cancer surgery, here are four things you should know about the procedure:
1. It's an outpatient procedure.
Typically, surgery for the removal of skin cancer is an outpatient procedure, meaning you won't have to stay in the hospital overnight. According to Everyday Health, you will have local anesthetic injected around the area where your skin cancer will be removed. This procedure doesn't require you to be put to sleep under general anesthesia, which means you'll have a faster recovery and may be able to drive yourself home after your operation.
2. Your doctor will test the removed tissue.
The purpose of skin cancer surgery is to remove all the cancerous tissue from your body so it won't be able to spread and infect your lymph nodes or other organs. In order to ensure that all the cancer is removed, your doctor will perform tests on the tissue removed during surgery. Your doctor will inform you of the results as soon as they're available, usually a week or two after your surgery.
3. You should experience minimal discomfort.
Surgery can sound frightening, but in reality, having cancerous tissue removed is a minor procedure. You may feel some pressure during the surgery, but the topical anesthetic will keep you from feeling any pain while your skin cancer is removed. The doctor will give you stitches once the surgery is complete, and you should follow the care instructions to avoid complications. If you feel pain following your surgery, you can take over-the-counter pain medications to alleviate the discomfort.
4. An experienced surgeon can reduce scarring.
Whenever you have surgery, some scarring is to be expected. It's understandable that you might be concerned about visible scars, especially if you are having skin cancer removed from your face or another highly visible location. Rest assured that an experienced surgeon will do their best to minimize scarring. Talk to your dermatologist about techniques you can use at home to promote healing and reduce scarring.
Having surgery to remove skin cancer doesn't have to be alarming. When you're informed about the procedure, you can undergo it with confidence. Make sure to choose a surgeon that you trust, so you can rest assured that your health is in good hands.