Skin Malignancy (Cancer)

Cancer of the skin is the most common type of cancer in the developed world.
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At the Manchester Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns we see and treat many patients with the most common forms of skin cancer: malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

The most effective treatment for any of these tumours is to remove the malignant cells along with a good area of healthy tissue around the cancer, called a “margin”. This may leave a hole in the skin which is too large to be stitched up in a straight line. It is for this reason that plastic surgeons are involved with the management of skin cancer. We can use tissue from next to the defect or from elsewhere in the body to cover the wound. This can either be done through the use of skin grafts, flaps, or free tissue transfer; your surgeon will be able to explain the options to you in detail.

Following surgery, you will be seen for followup appointments in the outpatients department. For many types of skin cancer, you will be asked to come back and see us every few months for check-ups. This is so we can speak to you and examine you to make sure there are no signs of the skin cancer coming back, called ‘recurrence’. Sometimes it might be appropriate for a dermatologist to see you for followup closer to home and your surgeon will arrange this. For a small number of skin cancers where the risk of recurrence is very low, we will ask your GP to follow you up.


Patients are referred to the skin cancer service by their GPs, dermatologists, or occasionally other specialists. Unfortunately we can’t accept requests for appointments directly from patients.

If you have an area of skin that is changing or that gives you concern, you should make an urgent appointment to see your GP who will examine you and can refer you to us if they think it is necessary.