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Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery

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  • Image of Dr. Agapay, Dr. Friese and Dr. Glenn
  • Image of Dr. Agapay, Dr. Friese and Dr. Glenn's Office
  • Image of Dr. Agapay, Dr. Friese and Dr. Glenn's Office
  • Image of Dr. Agapay, Dr. Friese and Dr. Glenn's Office
  • Image of Dr. Agapay, Dr. Friese and Dr. Glenn

Melanoma | Squamous Cell | Basal Cell

The 3 main types of cells in the top layer of the skin are squamous cells, basal cells, and melanocytes. There are several types of skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell cancers being the most common. Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers rarely spread to other parts of the body and can usually be treated with a minor surgical procedure. Melanoma is a much less common skin cancer, but is more likely to spread to other parts of the body if not caught early. Doctors Allen A. Agapay, William R. Friese and Jordan J. Glenn regularly perform procedures to remove melanoma and non-melanoma tumors.

Melanoma

Melanoma occurs when the melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) become cancerous. While this is a dangerous cancer because it can spread throughout the body, when caught early, it is very treatable.

Symptoms of Melanoma

  • A change in an existing mole
  • An unusual growth on your skin: abnormalities can include irregular mole shape and/or mole borders, unusual or unevenly colored moles

Diagnosis

Your doctor will confirm if you have melanoma by taking a biopsy.

If you are diagnosed with melanoma, your surgeon may perform a sentinel node biopsy to determine whether your melanoma has spread to nearby lymph nodes. When melanoma has spread to the patient's lymphatic system, a sentinel lymph node is the first node into which the cancer is most likely to spread. Stopping the spread of cancer through the lymphatic system is critical to stopping the spread of cancer throughout the body.

To perform a sentinel node biopsy, a small amount of radioactive material and blue dye is injected around the tumor. The radioactive material and blue dye travel to the sentinel node(s) so your surgeon will be able to see them. The nodes are then removed and examined to see if they have cancer. If they do not contain cancer, it is unlikely that the other nodes have cancer.

Treatment

Excision: If you have early-stage melanoma, your surgeon will cut out the tumor and some of the surrounding normal skin after numbing the area with a local anesthetic. He then stitches the remaining skin together. In most cases, this surgery can be done as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia.

Surgery to remove lymph nodes: If melanoma has spread to nearby lymph nodes, your surgeon will also need to perform surgery to remove the affected nodes.

Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer

Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common types of skin cancer. They are often found on areas of the body that are exposed to the sun. While it’s rare for these cancers to spread beyond the original tumor site, if left untreated, they can grow into nearby areas and even may invade the bone.

Symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma

  • A persistent sore that fails to heal
  • A reddish patch or irritated area
  • A shiny bump or nodule
  • A pink growth with a slightly elevated rolled border and a crusted indentation in the center
  • An area that looks like a scar and appears waxy, white or yellow. It often has poorly defined borders

Symptoms of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

  • A thick, rough, scaly patch that may bleed
  • A wart-like growth
  • An open sore with a raised border and a crusted surface
  • A change in a preexisting skin growth
  • A persistent sore that fails to heal

Diagnosis

Your doctor will confirm if you have a basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma by taking a biopsy.

Treatment

Excision: For this procedure, your surgeon removes the tumor and some of the surrounding normal skin after numbing the area with a local anesthetic. He then stitches the remaining skin together.

Curettage and electrodesiccation: For this procedure, your doctor removes the cancer by scraping it with an instrument called a curette. The tumor area is then burned with an electrocautery needle to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Local anesthetic is used for this procedure.