Skin cancer, skin tumors

Skin Neoplasms

Today, skin cancer is among the most common cancer types, and the most typical malignant skin neoplasms are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Skin cancer diseases are most common among the older population group, but are sometimes diagnosed in young adults. The skin cancer risk is increased by pale skin, easy burning of the skin and abundant sun exposure.

Benign pigmented moles, seborrheic keratoses and fibromas or hemangioma of the skin are common in all people. If a skin neoplasm starts to grow, change shape, bleed or itch, its surroundings become inflated or a completely new skin manifestation grows quickly onto healthy skin, it is recommended to see a doctor to have it examined.

Diagnosing skin cancer

Dysplastic skin neoplasm is removed and sent for an examination by a pathologist. If the skin manifestation is very extensive or is located in a difficult place, a biopsy may be taken. Both procedures can be performed at a health centre, in occupational health care or at a private clinic.

If the examination reveals that it is a malignant skin neoplasm and cannot be treated in primary health care, the doctor refers the patient to special health care. The doctor who took the biopsy informs the patient about the diagnosis.

Basal cell carcinoma, the early stages of squamous cell carcinoma and the majority of squamous cell carcinomas are treatable diseases. The prognosis of melanoma is usually the better the earlier it is diagnosed and treated.

Skin cancer treatment at Tays

When a patient suffering from an early stage of skin cancer has been referred to the procedure unit of the dermatology clinic of Tays, we plan treatment for the patient already when processing the referral, which is most often cryotherapy or photodynamic therapy.

In cryotherapy, the skin manifestation is frozen with liquid nitrogen to destroy the cancer cells. In photodynamic therapy, i.e. PDT, a photosensitizing medicinal substance is dosed on the skin and when the skin is exposed to light, the cancer cells are destroyed. Superficial basal cell carcinomas can also be treated with these methods, but the other skin cancers require surgical treatment.

During the outpatient clinic visit, the whole skin of the patient is checked. If any other dysplastic skin manifestations are discovered, they are also removed or biopsies taken. It is fairly common that a patient has several simultaneous skin neoplasms, such as early stages of skin cancer and actual skin cancer diseases. In such cases, we use, as necessary, all the different treatment methods.

If necessary, we discuss the patient case at the meeting of specialists. At the meeting, a pathologist, plastic surgeon, oncologist and dermatologist plan the treatment of melanoma cases and also rare and difficult cases of skin neoplasms.

Surgical treatment and monitoring

Skin manifestation are operated at Tays according to their nature, extent and location in the units of plastic surgery, dermatology and ear, nose and throat diseases. Usually, a larger removal of the manifestation area is needed as an additional procedure and, in the case of melanoma, often examination surgery of the sentinel lymph nodes too.

The majority of basal cell carcinomas of the face and body, for example, can be operated under local anaesthesia as an outpatient procedure.

Samples are also taken in the surgery to be sent for examination by a pathologist. When the results are completed, it is determined whether further treatment or operations are needed and what kind of monitoring is needed and where.

We regularly monitor patients with an abundance of moles, who have also other risk factors with regard to melanoma. In the monitoring process, we use mole mapping and dermoscopy, i.e. skin examination with a microscope.

Persons in charge

Deputy Chief Physician Sonja Suvinen