Postoperative Care

PERSONALIZED FOLLOW-UP CARE: SO YOU STAY HEALTHY

The different types of skin cancer require different follow-up programs once the healing process is completed.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

After the basal cell carcinoma has been removed, a follow-up treatment is highly recommended since in about 30% of the cases this cancer develops again. Observation should take place for at least three years. There have been cases in which new cancer tumors developed again after 10 years. The clinical follow-up should take place at least once a year for at least three years.

Squamous-Cell Carcinoma

Recurrences or new metastases usually occur in the first two years after the removal of the tumor. However, a clinical follow-up should extend over five years. For tumors with a low risk of metastasis, the follow-up examinations are performed semi-annually. During the first two years of the post treatment observation, the examination is combined with an ultrasound of the regional lymph nodes. With a high risk of metastasis, physical examinations including ultrasonography, are performed at various intervals.

Epithelioma Spinocellulare - Squamous-Cell Carcinoma

There is currently no meaningful literature for the post treatment of epithelioma spinocellulare of the skin. Although relapses and metastases occur mostly within the first two years, the follow-up should always be continued over five years.

Follow-up consists mainly of clinical examinations that assess the local findings. For tumors with a low risk of metastasis, a semi-annual follow-up examination should take place up to the fifth postoperative year. In cases with high risk of metastasis, including patients with immunosuppression, organ transplantation, and multiple tumors, follow-up occurs during the first 2 years, every 3 months through medical examinations. Of great importance is the education of the patient and detailed instructions for self-examination.

Malignant Melanoma

The scope and frequency of follow-up treatments is based on the therapeutic approach similar to the initial tumor parameters or tumor stage. The follow-up should include intensive observation during the first five postoperative years since 90% of metastases are recurrent. However, a late recurrence of the metastases is not uncommon, meaning that generally follow-up care is recommended for a minimum of 10 years. This also applies to the increased risk of  second melanomas.

The objectives associated with post-surgical care or follow-up visits are:

1. Determination of tumor tissue or early progression;

2. Monitoring of the pigment system for early detection of melanoma, precursors, and secondary melanoma;

3. Psychosocial care;

4. Today skin cancer belongs to the most common malignant tumors.

5. Implementation and monitoring of a supporting therapy.