Tips on recovering from skin cancer surgery

Skin cancer is extremely common in Australia. Fortunately, its treatment has a high success rate, especially if it is found early. Surgery is one of the more common and effective treatments that you may be given; this guide will tell you how to look after yourself afterwards.


It generally does not take long to recover from skin cancer surgery. You should rest for the remainder of the day but will probably find that you can return to light activity the next day.

Pain and discomfort

It is normal to feel a small amount of pain, and perhaps some bruising and swelling, around the site of the surgery. This is not in itself anything to worry about, because it may just be part of the body's healing process. You should be able to treat the pain with over-the-counter painkillers such as acetaminophen, but check with your doctor first. (If you were given a prescription medicine for pain, make sure you take it as instructed, and double-check if you aren't sure.)

Care for the wound

The site of the surgery is not likely to be large and should heal up quickly. You can wash the wound twice daily with clean water but should not use alcohol-based cleansers. If you want to cover the wound, you can apply a small amount of petroleum jelly, and then cover it with a non-stick bandage. Of course, if your doctor has given you any other instructions for looking after the wound, you should do as instructed. If you have been given stitches, make sure you know when you need to go back to have them removed.

Psychological care

Skin cancer and its treatment can be stressful. You will probably not want to be alone after the surgery and will want to be with friends or family; this way, you have someone you can talk to and who can look after you.

Follow-up care

After the wound has healed, you will need to have regular check-ups to ensure that the cancer has not returned. You will also need to take extra care to protect your skin from the sun, as the damage that has already been done will not reverse itself.

Skin cancer removal has a good success rate and is not something you should worry about. With proper aftercare, you should have no trouble recovering from the surgery, and you will quickly return to your normal life. For more information about skin cancer treatment and removal, talk to a medical professional.