According to the reports from the World Health Organization, up to 3 million and over 130,000 people are diagnosed with non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancer simultaneously. With the rising cases of skin cancer, finding early treatments is extremely important.
India is evolving as one of the leading centers for skin cancer treatments and surgery at an affordable cost. So, if you are looking for effective ways to overcome the impacts of skin cancer and beat it with the help of the latest techniques and experienced oncologists, India is a perfect destination for you.
If you are planning on coming down to India as a medical tourist for undergoing skin cancer surgery, this is the article for you.
Table of Contents
Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye
- Types of Skin Cancer
- Skin Cancer Treatment in India
- How to plan your medical tour to India for Skin Cancer Surgery?
- What to expect during skin cancer treatment in India?
- Recovery and Success Rates
- Cost of Skin Cancer Treatment in India
- Why Should You consider India for Skin Cancer Surgery?
1. Types of Skin Cancer
Primarily, there are four different types of skin cancer. They include:
Basal Cell Carcinoma – This type of skin cancer originates in the basal cells, which are located in the lower epidermal layer of the skin. They are responsible for the regeneration of new skin cells after the old skin cells perish. It appears as a transparent bump on the skin, which can then take a turn for the worse if not diagnosed at early stages. It is generally caused by overexposure to the UV rays of the sunlight and is primarily seen in the neck and head region.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma – It is one of the most common types of skin cancer that occurs in the squamous cells of the skin, which are located in the middle and outer layers of the skin. Although this is the least threatening type of skin cancer, it can spread very quickly and aggressively. Even this type is caused by prolonged exposure to UV rays or artificial modes like tanning beds, etc. Since squamous cells are found abundantly in varying parts of the body, the condition isn’t restricted to just one place on the body.
Melanoma – This is the most aggressive form of skin cancer that originates from the melanocytes in the skin, which are responsible for producing melanin. Although the exact reason behind this type of skin cancer isn’t established, it is believed that UV exposure is likely one of the leading causes.
Merkel Cell Cancer – The last on the list is Merkel cell cancer, which is quite a rare yet aggressive form of skin cancer. It originates from the hair follicles and the hormone-producing centers in the skin. Generally, it affects the neck and head region predominantly more compared to the rest of the body. The condition is also alternatively called neuroendocrine carcinoma.
Another common type of skin is non-melanoma skin cancer, which comprises all the types of skin cancers that aren’t melanoma.
2. Skin Cancer Treatment in India
Surgery is generally the primary mode of skin cancer treatment in India. Depending on the type of skin cancer, there are a few different types of skin cancer surgeries that the patient can undergo.
While some of the surgical procedures for the less aggressive skin cancers are done in the clinic under local anesthesia, some of the severe forms of skin cancers are paired with radiation and chemotherapy for a better success rate.
Some of the skin cancer treatment types include:
Excision – This is one of the minimally invasive procedures, one that is often done for the initial diagnosis of cancer through biopsy. For the surgery, the oncologist starts with making an incision around the tumor and then cuts it out with an excess inch of skin around the periphery of the tumor. The rest of the skin is then stitched back in place, leaving behind a permanent scar.
Mohs surgery – When talking about surgical procedures for skin cancer, Mohs surgery is likely the most popular type. It is done for the patients whose extent of skin cancer isn’t predictable, thereby posing risks of recurrence of cancer. It is done by a specialist surgeon who is experienced in the field. The procedure starts with the excision of a thin layer of skin along with the tumor cells, which are then examined under the microscope. If the cancer cells are seen, another layer from underneath the excised layer is removed and examined. The procedure is done until the surgeon doesn’t witness any further cancer cells. It is a slow and time-consuming process.
Curettage and electrodesiccation – It is another form of surgical treatment for skin cancer. In this procedure, the surgeon scrapes off the tumor and cancerous cells from the skin using a curette, following which the area is treated with an electric needle to perish the remaining clusters of cancer cells. It is a predominant form of treatment for patients suffering from basal and squamous cell skin cancer.
Lymph node surgery – Another common form of skin cancer surgery is done in the lymph nodes surrounding the primary site of skin cancer. If the oncologist finds swelling around the lymph nodes, they are likely going to suggest a biopsy to check for cancerous growth and then remove the same surgically.
3. How to plan your medical tour to India for Skin Cancer Surgery?
Given that India is growing to be one of the best countries for skin cancer surgery, more and more people from across the world are flocking in to get satisfying treatment for their aggressive or non-aggressive forms of cancer.
If you are planning your medical trip to India for your treatment, there are a few important factors that you need to keep in mind.
Make a checklist of documents:
- Previous medical reports with the diagnosis from prior consulting oncologist
- Scanned copy of passport (patient and attendant)
- Scanned copy of a photograph of the patient
- Address proof
- e-Medical visa
- Health insurance (if any)
- Proof of required funds for the treatment
- Recommendation letter from the hospital in India
Look into general health
- Taking care of your general health before flying down to India for the treatment is essential to prevent any further risks of complications.
- Limit addictive behavior and habits including smoking, alcohol, and drugs
- Additionally, consume the prescribed medication by the doctor and apply sunscreen to protect your skin from further impacts of the UV rays
4. What to expect during skin cancer treatment in India?
The preparation for skin cancer treatment depends on the type of surgery the patient needs to undergo. From the preparation before the surgery to the aftercare, there are a lot of factors that the patient needs to be mentally and physically prepared for.
- Before the treatment, the first step after coming down to India is arrange for the first face to face consultation with the doctor
- Once you have a clear idea about the procedure and what you can expect out of it, you can finalize a day of the surgery as per your feasibility
- The surgeon might ask to get some routine blood tests and imaging done before the treatment
- Some type of supplements and medicines including blood-thinning medications need to be avoided
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, or taking drugs
During the Treatment
- On the day of the surgery, you need to have someone with you to accompany you to the hospital and back from the hospital, in case you are discharged on the same day
- Apply medicated sunscreen to prevent further damage from the sunlight
- Wear loose-fitting clothes for a comfortable experience
After the Treatment
- Once the skin cancer surgery is done, the surgeon will decide how they close the incision, depending on the extent of the surgery
- Some of the common types include letting the wound repair on its own, using primary closure, using a skin flap from an adjacent healthy skin layer, or using a skin graft
- Some patients might have to complete an antibiotic course after the surgery to prevent the risks of infection
- The patient needs to be very careful about taking care of their incision as per the surgeon’s instructions
5. Recovery and Success Rates
The recovery after skin cancer surgery generally depends on the extent of the surgery and how long the incision is. It takes around 4-6 weeks for the wound to heal completely. But, given that it’s a surgical procedure, there are risks of swelling, infection, and hematoma in some patients, which are curable with proper medication and guidance.
Factors affecting the recovery:
- The extent of the surgery
- Additional complications associated with the surgery
- Age of the patient
- Healing capability of the patient
Success rate of Skin Cancer Surgery
Although there is no strict percentage of the success rate of skin cancer surgery, the majority of the surgeries have a 99% success rate with reduced risks of recurrence. Some of the factors that affect the success rate include:
- Latest techniques used in the hospital
- Experience of the surgeon
- Proper aftercare after the surgery
In India, you are assured of the best treatment for skin cancer with the latest technologies and an experienced team of professionals.
6. Cost of Skin Cancer Treatment in India
The cost of skin cancer treatments generally vary on the procedure and the type of surgery that the patient has to undergo. The cost varies between INR 2,00,000 to INR 4,00,000, depending on the type of treatment.
India offers one of the most cost-effective treatment packages for medical tourists that need to undergo skin cancer surgery. Some of the factors that affect the cost include the hospital charges, consultation fees of the surgeon, extent of the surgical procedure, and the city where the treatment is happening.
7. Why Should You consider India for Skin Cancer Surgery?
Some of the accessory reasons why India is the best country for skin cancer surgery include:
- Finest range of hospitals equipped with the latest techniques and equipment
- Experienced surgeons and oncologists
- Cost-effective treatment
- Ease of communication
- Foreign exchange
- Enhanced hospitality and aftercare
- Personalized care
- Ease in acquiring medical visa
- Proper guidelines during Covid
- Patient confidentiality
- Higher success rate
Skin cancer is one of the most undermined forms of cancer. If you are struggling with any of the symptoms, it is important to consult the doctor and get a proper diagnosis about the same. India offers some of the best and cutting-edge hospitals and skilled professionals that help overcome these shortcomings for good. At Medinirvana, we offer the best services to make your medical journey to India hassle-free and effective.
3^ What to expect during skin cancer treatment in India? Mayoclinic | February 10, 2021