Skin Cancer

Skin is the single largest organ in the human body and perhaps the most neglected. Sun exposure is responsible for premature aging and predisposes to the development of skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Melanoma makes up the other common form of skin cancer that is most frequently seen by plastic and reconstructive surgeons.

Fortunately the management of skin cancer has evolved from a primarily surgical form of treatment to a sophisticated combined interdisciplinary team approach involving dermatologists, Moh’s surgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons and when necessary, radiation oncologists and cancer specialists.

Training in skin cancer management is an important component of the residency program at the University of Toronto. Resident plastic surgeons do rotations on skin pathology and dermatology before learning surgical techniques of skin cancer excision and subsequent reconstruction.

While the management of skin cancer is performed by most academic and community plastic and reconstructive surgeons, there are centres of focused care at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Women’s College Hospital.