Changes to your appearance
Skin cancer treatments such as surgery, curettage and electrodesiccation, and cryotherapy often leave a scar. In most cases, your doctor will do everything they can to make the scar less noticeable. Most scars will fade with time. Skin treated with radiation therapy may change in colour, and appear lighter or darker depending on your skin tone.
You may worry about how the scar looks, especially if it’s on your face. Various cosmetics are available to help cover scarring. Your hairstyle or clothing might also cover the scar. Talk to your doctor about treatments that can help improve the appearance of scars.
You may want to talk to a counsellor, friend or family member about how you are feeling after any changes to your appearance.
For more on this, see Emotions and cancer.
Look Good Feel Better
Look Good Feel Better is a national program that helps people manage the appearance-related effects of cancer treatment. Workshops are run for men, women and teenagers. For information about services in your area, call 1800 650 960.
I had skin cancer removed from my left forearm, followed by a skin graft, with the donor area from inside the upper part of the same arm. I now have a large ‘indent’ from the removal of the cancer and a large scar at the donor site. I did not expect the amount of pain and appearance changes.David
Podcast for people affected by cancer
A/Prof Stephen Shumack, Dermatologist, Royal North Shore Hospital and The University of Sydney, NSW; Dr Margaret Chua, Radiation Oncologist, Head of Radiation Oncology, Skin and Melanoma, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; John Clements, Consumer; Aoife Conway, Skin Lead and Radiation Oncology Nurse, GenesisCare, Mater Hospital, NSW; Sandra Donaldson, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Kath Lockier, Consumer; Dr Isabel Gonzalez Matheus, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Principal House Officer, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; A/Prof Andrew Miller, Dermatologist, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Dr Helena Rosengren, Chair Research Committee, Skin Cancer College of Australasia, and Medical Director, Skin Repair Skin Cancer Clinic, QLD; Dr Michael Wagels, Staff Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Princess Alexandra Hospital and Surgical Treatment and Rehabilitation Service, and Senior Lecturer, The University of Queensland, QLD; David Woods, Consumer.
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