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Skin Cancer Awareness- when to see a dermatologist vs. a plastic surgeon?



by Dr. David Cangello


May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.  Did you know that when patients are diagnosed with Melanoma or non-Melanoma (most common types being Basal or Squamous Cell) they always head right to their Dermatologist? BUT did you also know that the mainstay treatment for these cancers is surgical excision and this is one of the core competencies that a plastic surgeon specializes in during training?


So how do you know which doctor to go to?


Most patients have their dermatologists do it because they aren’t aware that plastic surgeon’s do it.

  • There are times when Basal or squamous cell can be excised by a MOHS Micrographic Surgery doctor (which is always a dermatologist) and the reason for that is when the cancer is in a cosmetically sensitive area, such as on the face.  MOHS is a procedure where the amount of healthy tissue taken in the resection is minimized because the MOHS doctor looks at the specimen under the microscope to be sure the cancer is cleared RIGHT after they excise it – instead of sending it to the pathologist and getting the results back days later.
  • The plastic surgeon then closes the “hole” or open wound, left behind.
  • We often use skin “flaps” for reconstruction, where we borrow tissue from adjacent areas to close large open wounds that would otherwise be too large to close by just attempting to stretch the skin by pulling on it with sutures.
So when can a Plastic Surgeon excise the Melanoma?  “When they are located in a non-cosmetically sensitive area. And if we do the incision, we also do the reconstruction as well.”

Dr. David Cangello // New York

As one of NYC’s leading plastic and reconstructive surgeons, Dr. Cangello’s philosophy centers around a single concept: enhancing natural beauty through natural results. He follows the vision of Michelangelo who said “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” He combines his technical expertise and artistry to create results that maintain a natural appearance.

His unparalleled ability to create natural results for patients is what truly sets him apart from others in the field. Dr. Cangello understands the delicate approach required to achieve true aesthetic beauty and applies that to every patient. In particular, physical refinements that appear natural are critical for those seeking surgery on highly visible body parts such as the face, nose and breast.

Dr. Cangello is distinguished as an expert for his work in facial plastic surgery which has made him one of the top rhinoplasty surgeons in New York City. He is also a leading expert in cosmetic surgery of the breast where patients seek his unique ability to create breasts that appear as if they have never been surgically altered. Dr. Cangello believes that being a good physician requires being a good listener.

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