Interview transcription:

We interviewed Dr Penelope Pratsou to learn about the best treatment for these types of skin cancer.

If you develop one of these two cancers – either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma – what are the types of treatments that you recommend?

Penelope Pratsou: If you think that you might have one of these conditions, then I would generally see you and probably treat you on the day. The treatment would consist of removal of the suspected skin cancer. For both of these conditions, the best treatment option is removal and we wouldn’t just be removing the suspected skin lesion, but we’d want to take a small amount of healthy skin all around it. We know from long term data how much to remove and that is enough to completely remove the skin cancer and prevent it from coming back. With a basal cell carcinoma, we tend to think about whether it’s going to grow back or not. With squamous cell carcinoma, we do have to think about the possibility of it coming back, or there is sometimes that small potential for a spread to other parts of the body. Now if for some reason, surgery was not possible or appropriate, then there are some other treatment options that mainly consist of x-ray treatment (radiotherapy).

The first step to feeling in charge of your skin is to book an initial consultation


Penelope Pratsou: In that event, I would want to take a small skin biopsy first, to confirm that we’re dealing with either a basal cell or a squamous cell carcinoma. I would then ask one of my very well-trained oncology colleagues to see you and treat you with radiotherapy. In other cases, you might require a small biopsy first followed by treatment with a plastic surgeon.

If you have any of the symptoms or conditions that we’ve just discussed, we invite you to book a consultation with Dr Penelope Pratsou where she’ll be able to assess your condition and give you a suitable treatment plan.

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About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.