If you've been diagnosed with skin cancer, and your surgeon has recommended Mohs surgery to remove the basal or squamous cancer cells, it's time to prepare for the recovery. The most important thing you can do is study up on the process so that you know what to expect. In addition, it's important that you know how to take care of yourself during the recovery period. Here are three steps you'll need to take while you're recovering from skin cancer surgery.
Keep on Top of the Wound Cleaning
When it comes to recovering from skin cancer surgery, the most important thing you can do is keep the wound clean. Not only will keeping your wound clean help prevent post-operative infections, it will also help the wound heal better. After surgery, you'll need to keep the original bandages in place for at least the first day. It's also important that those original bandages stay dry. Once your doctor gives you the go-ahead to remove the bandages, you'll want to wash the wound. Use a mild soap to wash the area but be sure to avoid placing the wound directly into the water. Wash the area at least once a day until the wound has completely healed. Once the sutures have been removed, you'll be able to shower or bathe normally.
Be Ready with the Ice Packs
After surgery, you may notice a bit of swelling. You can alleviate the swelling, and the discomfort, by applying ice packs to the wound site. You can either place crushed ice in a ziplock baggie and use that, or you can make your own ice packs. To make your own, place 2 cups of water and 1 cup of rubbing alcohol in a ziplock baggie. Place the baggie in the freezer until the liquid has turned into slush. Wrap the ice pack in a light towel and then place it on the wound. Leave in place for about 10-15 minutes. You can repeat the ice pack application several times a day to help keep the swelling to a minimum.
Prevent a Recurrence
Once you've had your skin cancer surgery, you'll want to get back to normal as soon as possible. However, it's important to remember that you'll need to take steps to prevent a recurrence. One way to do that is to minimize your sun exposure. You want to avoid sun exposure as much as possible until the wound has completely healed. After the wound has completely healed, be sure to wear sunscreen each time you go outside. Limiting your exposure to the sun, and using sunscreen will help prevent a skin cancer recurrence and it will reduce scarring around the wound site.