Skin cancer is incredibly common in Queensland and Australia, with Queensland having the highest incidence of any state. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous cell carcinoma are by far the most common diagnoses, but the more serious diagnosis of Melanoma is increasing annually.
Look to our Blog for an upcoming topic on Melanoma and new treatments available.
Dr Rowe treats a great many skin cancers, is well versed in all the current treatment modalities. He works closely with several Dermatologists to offer non-surgical treatments when indicated, often referring patients for long-term skin surveillance is to these specialists to help diagnose skin cancers early, and sometimes even avoid surgical treatment. Many patients also come through GP run skin cancer clinics, and Dr Rowe will liaise with whoever is your referring doctor to ensure there is good communication about ongoing treatment and surveillance requirements.
During your consultation, Dr Rowe can examine any area you are concerned about, even if not mentioned on the original referral letter. It is not uncommon for new lesions to come up while waiting for your appointment!
If you have already had a biopsy, or if the lesion in question is typical in appearance, you will likely be booked for surgery, either in rooms (Minor Ops) or in the main hospital theatre complex (Theatre). This allows all complexity levels of treatment to be accommodated, either under local anaesthetic, sedation or full general anaesthetic.
If your surgery is relatively straight forward – a simple “cut and stitch” – you may be able to follow up with your referring doctor or GP, rather than having to come and see Dr Rowe or his nurse in the postoperative period. Obviously, this will be very dependant on the exact pathology, site of your excision, and health of your skin and other tissues. Dr Rowe and his nurse will give you direction about this, and if in doubt, always contact us to check your follow up requirements.
If the surgical site is on your face, your dressing will be simple – possibly even just a smear of Vaseline or similar. You will be given direction on how often to reapply this, but as a general rule 3-4 times day, enough to keep the suture line “oily” is sufficient.
If the site is on your neck, trunk or limbs, you may have a large adhesive white patch over the wound. This dressing (hypafix or similar) is water tolerant and can generally be wet in the shower after 24-48 hours. Again, you will be told about this at the time of surgery. Usually, this dressing is left to fall off by itself or can be replaced if it falls off in the first day or two. If it manages to remain for two weeks or more, gently remove it in a warm shower or with adhesive remover ( Zoff or similar).
If you have had a Skin Flap or Skin Graft you will almost certainly need to see Dr Rowe and his nurse within a week of surgery or discharge from hospital. You will have specialist dressings and wound requirements, and it is very important these are tended to, to ensure a good outcome and rapid healing. Again, if in doubt, contact us to check requirements.