Skin cancer

 

Skin cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. Non-melanoma skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), refers to a group of cancers that develop in the upper layers of the skin. Melanoma skin cancer is less common, but can be more serious, as it can spread to other organs in the body.

Precancerous lesions such as solar keratosis are extremely common in areas of skin that have been exposed to large amounts of sunlight such as the head and neck. These can be treated by your own GP and do not usually require referral to the dermatology department.

We provide the best possible care for patients who are diagnosed with skin cancer. We provide support, information, counselling and education to you and your relatives and carers throughout treatment.

More on what we do

Your GP will refer you to us if they suspect you have skin cancer. One of our specialists will examine the area of skin in question, and may also need to look at other areas of your skin. Usually we will be able to make a diagnosis and discuss treatment options at this stage, but sometimes will recommend a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. A skin biopsy involves the removal of a small sample of the affected skin under local anaesthetic for it to be examined under the microscope.

In cases of suspected melanoma, the whole of a suspicious mole will be surgically removed and sent to the laboratory for microscopic examination. See our leaflet 'What happens next? Mole or skin lesion removal' for more information.

Treatments

Surgery is the main treatment for skin cancer. If surgery is recommended for you, you will usually be placed on a waiting list to have this done in our department on another day. If the treatment is deemed urgent, the surgery may be carried out on the same day as your clinic appointment.

Some non-melanoma skin cancers may be suitable for alternative treatments, include freezing (cryotherapy), anti-cancer creams, radiotherapy and a form of light treatment called photodynamic therapy (PDT). The treatment used will depend on the type, size and location of the skin cancer you have, and we will discuss options in detail with you.

Melanoma treatment is usually a two stage process: firstly the suspicious mole is removed for the precise diagnosis to be made (this result may take up to 4 weeks), then there is usually a second stage (wide local excision), in which a larger area of skin is removed from around the scar to reduce the risk of the cancer returning. Further investigations such as scans or biopsy of lymph nodes may be recommended, depending on the exact nature of the melanoma.

Our team

Clinical Lead

  • Dr Chris Bower

Dermatology Consultants

  • Dr Yusur Al-Nuami
  • Dr Rebecca Batchelor
  • Dr Chris Bower
  • Dr Carolyn Charman
  • Dr Naomi Goldstraw
  • Dr Tom Lucke
  • Dr Emily McGrath
  • Dr Yong Oon
  • Dr Rachel Wachsmuth
  • Dr Penelope Williams

Associate Specialists

  • Dr Peter Acheson
  • Dr Helen Frow
  • Dr William Willcock

Specialty Doctors

  • Dr Charlotte Carmichael
  • Dr Josephine Wheeler
  • Dr Helen Creighton
  • Dr James Wood
  • Dr Andrew Rosewarne

Specialist Trainees

  • Dr Alistair Brown
  • Dr Alice Walker

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Team

  • Claire Facey – Lead CNS
  • Jo Short
  • Kate Allington
  • Sarah Sandford
  • Kevin Mitchell

Nursing Staff and Health Care Assistants (HCA)

  • Clare Parkinson - Senior Surgical Nurse Practitioner
  • Marian Thorn - Matron
  • Hayley Thorn - Sister
  • Chaya Sriranganatha - Sister
  • Claire McKenna - Surgical Nurse Practitioner
  • Hooi Inn Neoh-Solman - Surgical Nurse Practitioner
  • Victoria Roderick - Surgical Nurse Practitioner
  • Laura Warne - Sister
  • Romina Abuzatoaiei - Staff Nurse
  • Wasuru Dyke - Staff Nurse
  • Patricia Garcia Arroyo - Staff Nurse
  • Kim Hill - Staff Nurse
  • Gillian Lacey - Staff Nurse
  • Reynaldo Almazora - Senior HCA
  • Myrna Base - Senior HCA
  • Jayden Butler - Senior HCA
  • Mandy Spinks - Senior HCA
  • Jo Thompson - Senior HCA
  • Amy Hunt - Senior HCA
  • Michelle Murdoch - Senior HCA
  • Bev Alford - HCA
  • Wendy Davies - HCA
  • Emily Hatch - HCA
  • Fiona Lewis - HCA
  • Gillian Tancock - HCA

Management and Admin team

Where to find us

RD&E Heavitree, Gladstone Rd, Exeter EX1 2ED

Department of Dermatology

Contact us

If you want to get in touch with the department, you can contact us on 01392 405510.

Community services

We have four GP-led community services for treating skin cancer:

Tiverton: Dr James Wood, Dr Helen Crighton and Dr Jon Williams - www.amicushealth.nhs.uk/clare-house-surgical-dermatology-service

Exeter: Dr Victoria Chamberlain, the Heavitree Practice - www.theheavitreepractice.co.uk/our-team

Exmouth: Dr William Willcock, Rolle surgery Exmouth - www.rollemedicalpartnership.co.uk/dermatology-services

Sidmouth: Dr Duncan Hall and Dr Andrew Rosewarne - www.sidvalleypractice.nhs.uk

Clinics

We run daily skin cancer clinics, which provide a diagnosis and treatment service for adult patients with suspected skin cancer. Treatment, including skin surgery, can often be provided on the same day as the clinic appointment, depending on time and space on the day. This may mean a longer wait in the department.

We also run skin cancer clinics for the follow-up of patients with skin cancer or at high-risk of developing skin cancer.

Supporting you

Skin conditions can have a huge impact on your social and psychological wellbeing. It is important to tell your GP or dermatology doctor about this during your consultation if it is relevant for you so that we can signpost you for further help in this regard.

Locally, we work with Talkworks.

There are also links to support groups and resources for many skin conditions here

Support group for people living with disfigurement here.

FORCE Cancer Charity works locally to support anyone affected by cancer and will work closely with the people involved in your treatment. Find out more about the support FORCE can offer at forcecancercharity.co.uk.

Health and wellbeing clinics are also offered to patients with a diagnosis of cancer to support patients through their pathway. Your nursing team will be able to provide you with more information on the structure and content of these sessions.

Information for healthcare professionals

Skin treatment and referral guidance for healthcare providers is found here.

We offer a teledermatology service for advice and guidance for GPs (48 hour turnaround)

For urgent enquiries or referrals, we run an on call service via the hospital switchboard: 01392 411611

General enquiries to the department: 01392 405510

Only patients with suspected melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) should be referred via the two week wait (2WW). Please refer patients with suspected basal cell carcinomas (BCC) via NHS e-Referral, unless they have a high-risk BCC in which you consider routine referral may cause harm (eg close to important facial structures).

Please ensure patients referred to the see and treat skin cancer clinic have had an INR checked within 24 hours of their appointment. Patients requiring skin surgery will normally need to have an INR of 2.5 or under.

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