Having been diagnosed with skin cancer, what next? This is a common question I get from my patients. The answer depends on the type of skin cancer you have.
If you have a non-melanoma skin cancer, like basal cell or squamous cell, what you need to expect is that entire proper excision will likely be curative, and you will not have to worry about it. You will still need to see a dermatologist every six months to have the site examined and also look for new spots.
If you have a melanoma, what to expect depends on the type of melanoma you have. Melanoma in situ, meaning the melanoma is only in the top layer of the skin, requires excision, and oftentimes this is curative. You will still need to see a dermatologist every three months to examine the site as well as the rest of your body.
Invasive melanoma requires a little bit more thought. Depending on the invasion, you may need lymph node biopsies. You may need CAT scans to look for metastases, such as the brain and the liver. Depending on the distance spread, you may need radiation therapy, chemotherapy, as well as excision.
It is very important to sit down with your dermatologist to determine what type of cancer you have and what kind of tests you will need in the future.