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Your Questions Answered

Here are some frequently asked questions from past patients. If you have any questions at all, please write them down and ask your care team at your visit. In the meantime, these questions may help prepare you for your clinic visits and treatment.

What are some of the usual treatments for skin cancer?

Some of the treatments for skin cancer include:

  • Surgery – This includes simple excision (cutting off the cancer) or for more complex cases excision and an examination of the cancer under microscope.
  • Radiation treatment.
  • Electrodessication & curettage (scraping the cancer).
  • Photodynamic therapy.
  • Topical creams.

Will I have my surgery on my first visit?

You will not have surgery on the day of your first visit. We need to look at your skin cancer and decide on the best treatment. If surgery is the best treatment for you, this will be booked for the next available session.

What is radiation treatment?

Radiation treatment uses radiation to shrink and destroy cancer cells. Treatment is given on a daily basis for 2-6 weeks depending on your cancer. Your radiation oncologist will give you more information at your appointment if you are offered this treatment.

What is photodynamic therapy?

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment for certain superficial skin cancers where we put a cream called Metvix on an area of your skin. Your skin will then be exposed to red light from a specially designed lamp. Your radiation oncologist will give you more information about PDT if you are offered this treatment.

How many visits will I have to the clinic?

The number of times you visit the clinic will depend on the treatment you will be receiving. Surgery is a day procedure, and usually two follow-up visits are required, one to remove the stiches in 1-2 weeks, and another 3 weeks after the surgery to review the pathology results with you. After radiation treatment, you might be followed for 1-2 years.

Why are there so many people in my appointment?

You will be meeting with people from all of the treatment teams — surgery, dermatology, and radiation oncology.

Sunnybrook is a teaching hospital. This means learners are key members of our care teams, and some might be in your appointment, including residents (recent medical graduates) and other healthcare professional students. All of our students are supervised by preceptors, staff physicians and mentors.

I feel scared about my visit. Is there any support for me when I feel anxious?

The Patient and Family Support Centre can provide support for you. (LINK). Also, tell your care team how you are feeling.

Who should I call if I have questions?

Please call 416-480-5000

  • Appointment information or health-care questions
  • Odette pharmacy
  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • Transportation
  • Security (Lost and Found)

More important phone numbers


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