Simple surgical excision (removal) is probably the main modality used to treat both primary and recurrent skin cancers. However, in some cases radiotherapy or medical treatments are suitable. Mr Banwell will discuss this with you if appropriate.

Surgical removal of a skin cancer involves removing the growth and a certain amount of normal-appearing skin surrounding it (the "margin"): for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, margins are often 2 to 5 mm. Thius can often leave a sizeable defect.

Most often it will be possible to close the defect by simply sewing up the wound. However, this is not always possible and a skin graft or reconstruction using a 'local flap'  may be required. Again, Mr Banwell will discuss the most suitable method in your particular case.

In over 95% of cases for primary BCC and SCC we are able to remove all of the tumour in one sitting although this is dependent on the site, size, and pattern of the tumor. Sometimes, a further operation is required to take further tissue - this is a 'belt and braces' approach to minimise future problems a is termed a 'wider excision'.  

Removal of  skin cancers may be performed in the out-patient or inpatient setting depending on the extent and location of the lesion.

Margin Controlled surgery

The Mohs procedure (also known as Mohs micrographic surgery or margin controlled excision) is a technique developed in the 1940s by Dr. Frederic E. Mohs for removing lesions due to basal cell carcinoma. It involves removing thin sections of the skin growth, layer by layer. Each layer is then examined under the microscope, and removal of layers continues until no cancerous cells remain. It has a high cure rate. It is especially useful for treating recurring skin cancer,  or poorly-defined tumours on the ear, eyelid, nose, lip. However, it is more costly, time-consuming, and labour-intensive compared to other methods and should be used sparingly. 


Surgery fact sheets

Click here for information sheet on Excision of Lesion

Click here for information on Split Skin Grafts (SSG)

Click here for information on Full Thickness Skin Grafts (FTSG)

Click here for information on Local Flap Reconstruction

Please contact Mr Banwell's office on 01342 330302 or email for further information.

E-mail Paul Banwell

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The key is to check you moles regularly - look out for changing moles – colour, size, outline, bleeding, crusting or itching

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