Skin Cancer Surgery on Harley Street, London
At The Devonshire Clinic we provide private skin cancer surgery from our clinic in the Harley Street area of London. Skin cancer surgery can be used to diagnose and remove melanoma by taking a skin sample through a biopsy and then removing the cancerous cells through surgery. In some cases, diagnosis and treatment occur simultaneously, with all the cancer cells removed as part of the biopsy process.
The skin surgery process
The extent of skin surgery required depends on the area of skin being treated and the technique used. Removing a cancerous mole using traditional surgery can take less than 30 minutes, but Mohs microsurgery can take much longer.
Simple, straightforward surgery can usually be done as a day case at our private clinic, with a local anaesthetic and a mild sedative if necessary. Larger procedures may require admission to hospital and an inpatient stay.
Which skin surgery is right for me?
The choice of surgical technique will depend on several factors relating to your condition:
- The size and location of the lesion
- Whether the lesion is superficial or infiltrating
- Whether the lesion is benign or malignant
- Whether the surgery is part of your diagnosis or your treatment
- The risk of scarring
The dermatologists at The Devonshire Clinic will explain the type of skin cancer surgery that you need and exactly what is involved. We will give you our expert advice and recommendations, but the final choice is always up to you. It is particularly important for cosmetic skin surgery that you have thought through the potential problems and risks before you decide to go ahead.
Skin Cancer Surgery on Harley Street, London
Frequently Asked Questions
Skin cancer is when your skin cells grow abnormally, and it’s often caused by exposure to the sun. If
caught early, it’s very treatable. The two main types of skin cancer are non melanoma and
melanoma skin cancer. Non melanoma cancers affect the upper layers of skin and tend to grow
slowly, whereas melanoma cancers affect deeper layers of the skin and spread more quickly.
Basal cell skin cancer (BCC) is the most common skin cancer. It develops in the cells that line the
bottom of the outer layer of skin, or epidermis and accounts for around 75% of skin cancers.
Squamous cell skin cancer (SCC) develops in the cells that line the top of the epidermis above the
basal layer (around 20% of skin cancers). Both BCC and SCC are types of non melanoma skin cancer.
Melanoma skin cancer is less common than non melanoma skin cancer. It develops from abnormal
cells in deeper areas of the skin, known as melanocytes, and can spread faster than non melanoma
skin cancer to other organs in the body.
Yes, anyone of any age can get skin cancer, but it’s rare in children and more common in older fair-
skinned people who have spent long periods in the sun or on a sunbed, especially if they’ve had
sunburn. Certain medical conditions, including solar keratosis and HIV, can also increase your risk, as
can medicines that suppress the immune system, radiation therapy, certain chemicals such as
creosote, and a family history of skin cancer, or having had skin cancer in the past.
Melanin is a natural protective pigment in your skin that protects it from sunburn. People who have
albinism (a condition that’s passed down in families where your skin doesn’t have any melanin) are
also at increased risk of skin cancer. The darker your skin, the more melanin protection you have
against most types of skin cancer. However, people with black skin can sometimes develop a rarer
type of cancer, Acral lentiginous melanoma, on their palms, nail beds, and soles of the feet.
Signs of non melanoma skin cancer include a new patch of skin or lump that doesn’t heal within a
few weeks. You might see changes to an existing or new mole, usually on the back, legs, arms, or
face. Melanomas are often more noticeable than a normal mole, irregular in shape, and have more
than one colour. Sometimes they itch or bleed.
Your GP will examine your skin and decide whether you need to see a skin specialist. They might
take pictures of the area to email a specialist for advice. Alternatively, you may wish to consult a skin
specialist (dermatologist) immediately. If you see a skin dermatologist, they may take a skin biopsy.
This means they remove some or all the affected area to examine the cells in a laboratory. They will
be able to identify the type of cancer and discover whether it is likely to spread and how to treat it.
In some cases, you can be diagnosed and treated during one appointment.
Although there are no national skin screening programmes in the UK to check for skin, it’s a good
idea to check your skin regularly, particularly on areas exposed to the sun. If you’re worried about
your skin, arrange to see your GP or a consultant dermatologist as soon as possible.
No, moles aren’t necessarily a sign of skin cancer; and having moles doesn’t mean you will get skin
cancer in the future. However, research has shown that the more moles you have, the greater your
risk of melanoma. The best advice is to avoid exposure to the sun and be alert to any changes to
your existing moles or new skin changes. Ask your doctor for advice if you’re worried.
Although it’s rare, children can get skin cancer. For example, melanoma, the most severe type of
skin cancer, is found in 300-400 children in the US each year. And, because it’s so rare, it’s often
undiagnosed until the later stages, when treatment may be more difficult. Childhood skin cancer can
also look different from adult skin cancers, with areas becoming itchy or bleeding. And childhood
melanomas can look different too. Lesions might look like a flaky or shiny sore that doesn’t heal.
Non melanoma skin cancer is more common in children whose immune system has been weakened
by an illness or medication. Keeping your child protected from the sun, and using high-SPF
sunscreen, can help reduce the risk of skin cancer.
The best way to protect yourself from skin cancer is to minimise the time you expose your skin to
the sun and to wear a high-SPF sunscreen (at least factor 15). Wearing clothes that cover up your skin, a hat, and sunglasses that protect you from UVA and UVB light, can also reduce your risk. And
avoid using sunbeds or sunlamps.
The primary treatment for skin cancer is surgery. The type of surgery you’ll need depends on the
cancer’s size, type, and location. Skin surgery is used to treat basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell
carcinoma and malignant melanoma. It might involve removing a mole or lesion, and a small area
around it (excisional biopsy). This is used both to diagnose and treat skin cancer. You might also be
offered shave excision, where raised moles can be removed by a shaving technique that doesn’t
involve having stitches. Punch excision is when a blade removes the problem area and takes a
sample for analysis. Elliptical excision is when a section of skin around the lesion is cut to help skin
heal better. And Mohs micrographic surgery treats skin cancer by removing cells layer by layer,
examining each layer under a microscope until the area is free of cancer. Mohs micrographic surgery
has the highest cure rates and the lowest risk of recurrence for certain types of skin cancer.
Other types of skin cancer treatment include radiotherapy, immunotherapy cream, photodynamic
therapy (PDT), chemotherapy cream, or a combination. Treatment options for more advanced types
of skin cancer that have spread to other organs include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and
Rarely, skin cancer can be fatal, particularly if it spreads. But, in most cases, the outlook is good.
Most non melanoma skin cancer can be cured, and it’s rare for basal cell skin cancer to spread.
Although, in some cases, squamous cell skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body, it can still
be cured. But the sooner your cancer is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat successfully.
I can’t recommend this clinic highly enough. The treatment I received for my skin cancer was first classAL, London
The team at the Devonshire Clinic were excellent. From booking my appointments to every part of my treatment, I felt that I was in the very best hands.CH, London
Before visiting the clinic I had quite high expectations, but I was blown away by just how brilliant the experience was. I felt like I was the only patient in the clinic. Simply the best medical treatment.SF, London
When you are faced with difficult medical choices or uncertainty and you want clarity about your diagnosis and the treatment that you will receive, then getting a second opinion from a private doctor can help put your mind at rest.
Dr Conal Perrett and Dr Ian Logan of The Devonshire Clinic have published an important retrospective study on a rare tumour called pleomorphic dermal sarcoma in the journal Cancer Reports.
Dr Conal Perrett, Consultant Dermatologist at The Devonshire Clinic and senior author of the st[...]Read More