Skin Cancer

Surgery is the main treatment for basal cell carcinoma (BCC) & squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) skin cancers, although it may depend on your individual circumstances.

At A Glance

Operation time

10-20 mins

Hospital stay

Outpatient operation


Once dressing removed


Usually no restriction


Usually no restriction

Back to work

Next day

Full Recovery

1 week


Usually local unless skin grafting is required

Frequenty Asked Questions

What is a basal cell carcinoma (rodent ulcer, BCC)?

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC or Rodent Ulcer) is the most common form of skin cancer. Over 50,000 new cases of BCC are reported each year in the U.K.

Fortunately, it is a very slow growing form of skin cancer and very rarely spreads to other areas or organs in the body.

Untreated, BCC’s can disfigure, especially on the face - therefore early recognition and treatment are important.

What causes BCC’s?

BCC’s are caused by long term intermittent exposure to sunlight and often occur on sun exposed skin, particularly the face, scalp, ears, hands, shoulders and back. White adults population are at greatest risk.

Risk factors include those with a:


  • History of sunburn
  • Recreational sun exposure
  • Outdoor occupations
  • Fair skin
  • Increasing age (most over the age of 50 years)
  • Men

How are can BCC’s be treated?

Surgical removal is the main treatment for BCC’s.  Non-surgical options include: 

  • Cryosurgery (freezing the skin)
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy cream, such as 5-fluorouracil


Treatment is usually carried out on an outpatient basis, with minimum disruption to your daily routine. All of these treatments aim to cure.

The most appropriate form of treatment depends on size, site and number of BCC’s.

What does the operation involve?

The majority of skin cancers can be removed in 10-20 minutes under local anaesthesia as outpatient procedures. 

Larger skin cancers may require reconstruction with skin grafts or moving tissue nearby (flaps).

What happens after the procedure?

You will be able to go home on the same day. Most cases you will be able to return to work 1-2 days after surgery and resume light exercise 2 weeks after surgery.

When am I seen for follow-up?

You will be followed up 1-2 weeks after surgery in order to be given the diagnosis (from analysis of the specimen in the laboratory), check the wounds and remove any stitches.

If face-to-face follow-up is not required then may arrange for either a telephone call or video consultation.



What are the risks?

Removal of skin lesions are low risk procedures with very few serious complications. However, occasionally patients may experience minor skin infection, delayed healing of wounds and lumpy or sensitive scars. A minority of patients require further treatment such as further surgery or medicinal creams.

How can I prevent further BCC’s?

About 1 in 3 patients who had one BCC are likely to get others. It is important to check any new lesions with your doctor and examine your skin every 6-12 months for early warning signs.

Sun protection is key to prevent further skin damage:

  • Aim to cover up and wear wide-brimmed hats when outdoors to protect the areas most at risk
  • High factor sunscreens (Minimum SPF 15+) are vital. Apply them before going out in the sun and re-apply every 2 -3 hours, or more frequently if perspiring or swimming
  • Wear 100% UV protective sunglasses as the skin surrounding the eyes is vulnerable to sun damage
  • Seek shade between the hours of 1100 - 1500
  • Make sure you do not burn and take extra care with children
  • Avoid indoor tanning beds

Price Range


Mr Sawyer is an amazing surgeon. After being diagnosed with skin cancer on my back, Mr Sawyer talked me through the options available to me, surgical and non surgical. He really listened to my concerns and showed great empathy. He talked to me throughout my surgical procedure, reassuring me at all times. His kind, caring and compassionate nature meant I felt very safe in his hands. I would highly recommend Mr Sawyer. His professionalism and caring manner is outstanding and I can not thank him enough for treating me.

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