Skin Cancer Treatment in Houston by Dr. John K. Long

The amount of people suffering from skin cancer is growing rapidly because of the many more hours individuals spend outdoors during their leisure time. Many more people, at far younger ages, are now exposed to the radiation of the sun for longer periods of time than ever before. Although there are skin cancers that are not related to sun exposure and radiation, the great majority are caused when an individual exceeds the amount of radiation that their skin can tolerate. Even with the frequent and consistent use of sun blocking agents, a person can, over time, exceed the limit of tolerable radiation and skin cancer can develop.

There are several procedures available to treat cancerous lesions on the skin. Dr. John K. Long offers skin cancer treatment at his Houston practice to help those who have developed the disease.

Skin Cancer Diagnosis

Skin cancers of all kinds are most commonly diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist. These doctors are best trained to diagnose and treat dangerous skin lesions, and it is recommended that patients consult with a dermatologist if they have a lesion on the skin that is of concern to them.

Types of Skin Cancer

There are three primary types of skin cancer, and each of them has different characteristics with a different prognosis. The three types of skin cancer are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma. The method of skin cancer treatment at Dr. Long’s office in Houston is similar for each type.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most frequent type of skin cancer treated by Dr. Long. This disease is very common in the Southwestern United States, and it can occur in young people as well as older individuals. BCC is not only the most common type of skin cancer, but, fortunately, is also the easiest to treat and the one with the greatest prognosis of a cure. In most cases, it is a localized disease that does not metastasize (spread throughout the body). For this reason, once the local disease has been successfully removed, the cancer from this lesion is considered cured.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Surgery for Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common skin cancer treatment performed at Dr. Long’s Houston office. SCC lesions are more common in older individuals, and are considered more serious than BCC because they can metastasize locally to lymph nodes and, at times, to distant locations of the body. Because of the potential for metastatic lesions, complete excision of SCC from the local area does not necessarily mean a cure has been accomplished.


Surgery for melanoma is the least common skin cancer treatment performed at Dr. Long’s Houston office. However, melanoma is the most serious and life-threatening form of skin cancer. Melanoma may arise on its own (de novo), from a preexisting mole or pigmented lesion (nevus), or from a slow-growing melanotic freckle (lentigo maligna). These lesions favor the head, neck, and lower extremities, and are found most frequently in older individuals in their fifties or sixties. Like the other skin cancers, the incidence of melanoma is increasing and affecting younger individuals.

Unfortunately, melanoma is a disease that can quickly and dramatically spread in the body, which makes the prognosis difficult to predict. Most melanomas are initially seen and diagnosed in the office of a dermatologist, and most appear as pigmented skin lesions that are noted by the individual. However, there does exist a non-melanotic melanoma that is not pigmented and the color of the lesion more closely resembles the skin.

Even very small, seemingly insignificant skin lesions have turned out to be a melanoma and have been fatal.

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Skin Cancer Treatment

In many cases, a dermatologist is not only able to diagnose the skin cancer, but to treat the skin cancer as well. The dermatologist may refer a patient to a plastic surgeon for the removal of skin cancer, depending on the size and/or location of the lesion. A plastic surgeon can best treat skin cancers on areas of the face such as the lips, nose, eyes, ears, or other areas of the body where the resulting scar would be visible. Dr. Long has experience in a full range of skin cancer treatment at his Houston practice, and uses the latest techniques to achieve the best possible result in these sensitive and important areas.

Skin Cancer Removal Procedure

Most skin cancer treatments are performed in the procedure room at Dr. Long’s Houston office. The surgery to remove the skin cancer and reconstruct the area is done under local anesthesia. It is rare for a patient to need to go to the operating room and be treated under general anesthesia. The time of anesthesia is related to the size and location of the lesion as well as the complexity of removal and subsequent reconstruction. The majority of skin cancer procedures are completed in an hour. Most patients, even those who require general anesthesia or more complicated procedures, are able to go home the day of the surgery.

Some cases of melanoma skin cancer demand more than can be accomplished in the office. In these situations, treatment is performed in the operating room of a hospital under general anesthesia, often on an outpatient basis. In addition to the size, complexity, and location of the lesion, the time of anesthesia will also depend on any associated lymph node involvement.

Recovery from Skin Cancer Treatment

The side effects of surgery to remove skin cancer may include temporary swelling, bruising, numbness, and/or burning sensations, which subside after a few days or weeks. Depending on the location of the cancer, skin cancer treatment can cause some permanent nerve loss, scarring, and facial deformity. The end results of the surgery may not be evident for up to a year after all healing is accomplished.

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Contact Dr. Long to Learn More about Skin Cancer Treatment

When skin cancer develops on the face or sensitive areas of the body, a plastic surgeon can safely remove the lesion(s) and minimize the appearance of the resulting scar. To learn more about skin cancer treatment, contact Dr. Long in Houston to schedule a consultation.

If you would like information about skin cancer and the treatment options available at the Houston plastic surgery practice of Dr. Long, contact us today by filling out the following form.

John K. Long, M.D., F.A.C.S.
1200 Binz St., Suite 1275
Houston, Texas 77004
Phone: (713) 522-5664
Fax: (713) 522-9618