Skin Cancer Treatment cost in South Africa

Skin cancer is referred to as a condition where there has been observed an abnormal growth of skin cells.

The reasons could be several, however, the most common one is being the direct exposure to sunlight, which is also one of the main reasons for the cause of skin cancer worldwide.

One must bear in mind that, there is also a possibility that one might develop skin cancer in areas that are not exposed to sunlight. There are three types of skin cancer known as Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, and Melanoma.

Symptomse for Skin Cancer

There are various reasons or causes for skin cancer to occur like

  • Having less Melanin in the skin. This is mainly because then, it means you have less protection from the harmful Ultraviolet rays.
  • Having multiple cases of skin burns as a child or as a teenager. This will increase your chances of developing skin cancer as an adult.
  • Too much exposure to the sun. This is mainly caused when you do not have the habit of wearing a wide-spectrum sunscreen when out in the sun or less clothing when sun-exposed.

When you observe certain abnormal conditions of the skin, it is the right time to see a doctor.

Factors affecting the cost of Skin Cancer

These could be wide and various. Some common factors that affect skin cancer cost is:

  • The kind of treatment you have been advised on
  • The stages of cancer that have developed
  • The facility where you are being treated
  • The destination where your treatment is being done.
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About the Skin Cancer Treatment

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. It typically affects people with lighter skin tone. Skin cancer is the uncontrolled and abnormal growth of destructive malignant skin cells. It occurs when unrepairable DNA damage that occurs in the skin cells triggers a mutation that makes them multiply rapidly and form malignant skin tumors.

Skin cancer is mostly caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds. Skin cancers have a limited potential to spread to other parts of the body and may become life-threatening if not treated on time. They are common and can be effectively treated but the treatment of some forms of skin cancers can be difficult. However, early diagnosis and treatment can increase the survival rate.

Types of Skin Cancer

The following are the three common types of skin cancers:

  • Basal cell skin cancer: This type of skin cancer is present in sun-exposed areas of the skin. Basal cell skin cancer rarely spread to other body parts (metastasize) and do not cause death. They are very common and easily treatable.
  • Squamous cell skin cancer: These skin cancers are also common but less common than basal cell cancers. They can metastasize but the metastasis rate is very low. They are also non-life threatening and can be treated easily.
  • Melanoma: This type of skin cancer originates from the pigment that gives color to the skin called melanocyte. It is less common and more dangerous than the first two types of skin cancer. However, if melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost curable. Advanced stage melanoma can spread to other parts of the body and is hard to treat. It can be life-threatening as well.

There are also some other types of skin cancers such as Merkel cell skin cancer, Kaposi sarcoma skin cancer and lymphoma of the skin, but these are rare. Although, some of these are aggressive skin cancers and has a high risk of recurrence.

Skin Cancer: Symptoms

The typical skin cancer symptoms vary from patient to patient. The symptoms also vary depending on the type of skin cancer that the patient has.

However, basal and squamous skin cancers can have some common symptoms, which include:

  • Flat, firm, pale or yellow areas, similar to scars
  • Raised reddish patches that might be itchy without pain
  • Small, pink or red, shiny, translucent, pearly bumps, which may have blue, brown or black areas
  • Raised growth and lumps with a lower area in their center, which might contain abnormal blood vessels spreading out
  • Open sores that do not heal, or come back after healing
  • Rough or scaly red patches, which may crust or bleed

Melanoma skin cancer can have some different types of skin cancer symptoms. There is an ABCDE rule guide that explains the melanoma symptoms:

  • A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark that does not match the other half.
  • B is for Border: The edges are ragged, irregular, notched, or blurred.
  • C is for Color: The color is not the same throughout the mole and may include different shades and patches of brown or black, pink, red, white, or blue.
  • D is for Diameter: The spot or skin growth is larger than 6 millimeters across, although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.
  • E is for Evolving: There is a change in size, shape, color, or surface of the mole.

How is Skin Cancer Treatment performed?

Several effective skin cancer treatment modalities are available, which is selected depending on the type of skin cancer that the patient is suffering from. Your dermatologist will choose the best suitable treatment for you depending on the type of skin cancer, location, your age, general health, and condition (whether the cancer is primary or a recurrence).

Some of the common treatment options for skin cancer include the following:

Electrodesiccation (EDC)

Destruction of skin cancer by electrodesiccation and curettage is known as EDC therapy. This treatment is fast, easy, and less expensive in comparison to other skin cancer treatment options. In this treatment, the area of the affected skin is numbed with a local anesthetic and scraped repeatedly with a sharp instrument called curette. After that, the edge is cauterized with an electric needle.

Surgery

Surgery is a more complicated and expensive procedure than EDC. During this skin cancer treatment, the surgeon first numbs the affected area with a local anesthetic. Then the malignant skin tissues are fully removed. Lastly, the edges of the wounds are closed with sutures. Surgery has a greater cure rate and the scar produced is usually more cosmetically acceptable than EDC procedure.

Mohs surgery for skin cancer is a microscopically-controlled treatment performed for common types of skin cancer. During this treatment, the surgeon keeps on removing layers of tissues and see it under the microscope to look for cancer cells.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is an option when the patient is not suitable for surgical treatment such as the elderly. The treated area cannot be tested to be sure that the entire cancer is gone and the radiation scar looks worse over time.

Targeted Drug Therapy

In the case of basal cell skin cancer, some gels, creams, and solutions can be used to reduce cancerous cells.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs such as fluorouracil (5-FU) can be given orally to the patient to treat skin cancer. It works by stimulating the body's immune system to produce interferon, which attacks the cancer cells.

Alternative Therapy

Alternative therapy includes the use of herbs, vitamins, and special diets, or other methods such as acupuncture or massage. Alternative therapy, however, cannot be used alone to treat skin cancer completely. It can only be used to reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Recovery from Skin Cancer Treatment

  • One important part of skin cancer recovery is to watch carefully for the chances of recurrence. Even after skin cancer surgery, some cancer cells may remain in the body and manifest themselves later on.
  • You are advised to visit your doctor regularly after skin cancer treatment for continuous monitoring and recovery check. You will be advised on how to manage long-term side effects of treatment and improve the overall quality of life.
  • There are specific precautions that you need to take if you’ve had a surgery for skin cancer. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions at the time of discharge. Your wound will be covered with a pressurized dressing for at least 24 hours after the surgery. Every precaution must be taken to prevent the wound from an infection.
  • Your surgeon will tell you when to take a bath after the surgery. You must take all precautions to keep the wound dry for the initial few days. You will be shown or told the proper way to clean the wound and apply a dressing after the discharge.
  • You may experience some level of redness and swelling after the surgery, which may remain for a few weeks to months. The extremity of redness and swelling depends on the depth of the wound. You must watch the wound carefully every day to check for signs of infection. Fever, extreme pain, drainage from the wound, enlarged lymph nodes, and redness are some of the signs of infection. Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of these signs of wounds infection.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the factors affecting the cost of Skin Cancer Treatment in South Africa?

Different hospitals have different pricing policy when it comes to the cost of Skin Cancer Treatment in South Africa. The cost quoted by some of the best hospitals for Skin Cancer Treatment in South Africa generally covers the pre-surgery investigations of the patient. Typically, the package cost of Skin Cancer Treatment in South Africa includes the expenses related to the surgeon's fee, anesthesia, hospital, meals, nursing and ICU stay. There are many things that may increase the cost of Skin Cancer Treatment in South Africa, including prolonged hospital stay and complications after the procedure.

Which are some of the best clinics in South Africa for Skin Cancer Treatmentt?

There are several best hospitals for Skin Cancer Treatment in South Africa. Some of the most renowned hospitals for Skin Cancer Treatment in South Africa include the following:

  1. Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital
  2. Life Kingsbury Hospital
How many days does it take to recover post Skin Cancer Treatment in South Africa?

The recovery of the patient many vary, depending on several factors. However, on an average, patient is supposed to stay for about 25 days in the country after discharge. This time frame is important to ensure that the surgery was successful and the patient is fit to fly back.

Which are some of the other popular destinations for Skin Cancer Treatment?

South Africa is considered to be one of the best places for Skin Cancer Treatment in the world. This is because of the availability of some of the best doctors, advanced medical technology and good hospital infrastructure. Some of the other popular destinations for Skin Cancer Treatment include the following:

CountryCost
IndiaUSD 4000
TurkeyUSD 3500
United KingdomUSD 2000
How much are the other expenses in South Africa apart from the cost of Skin Cancer Treatment?

Apart from the Skin Cancer Treatment cost, there are a few other daily charges that the patient may have to pay. These are the charges for daily meals and accommodation outside the hospital. The per day cost in this case may start from USD 50 per person.

Which are the best cities in South Africa for Skin Cancer Treatment Procedure?

Skin Cancer Treatment in South Africa is offered in almost all metropolitan cities, including the following:

  1. Lenasia
  2. Cape Town
  3. Durban
  4. Johannesburg
How many days does one have to spend in the hospital for Skin Cancer Treatment in South Africa?

After Skin Cancer Treatment, the patient is supposed to stay for about 4 days in the hospital for recovery and monitoring. This phase is important to ensure that the patient is recovering well and is clinically stable. During this time, several tests are performed before the patient is deemed suitable for discharge.

What is the average rating of Hospitals in South Africa offering Skin Cancer Treatment?

The average rating for Skin Cancer Treatment hospitals in South Africa is 2.9. This rating is calculated on the basis of different parameters such as attitude of the nurses, cleanliness, quality of food and the pricing policy.

How many hospitals offer Skin Cancer Treatment in South Africa?

There are more than 2 hospitals that offer Skin Cancer Treatment in South Africa. Such hospitals have the required infrastructure and a dedicated unit where patients can be treated. Apart from good services, the hospitals are known to follow all standard and legal guidelines as dictated by the local medical affairs body or organization.

Who are the best doctors for Skin Cancer Treatment in South Africa?

FAQ's Related to South Africa

Which are the popular multispecialty hospital groups in South Africa?

Some of the world-class multispecialty hospitals in South Africa are:

  1. Ahmed Al-Kadi Private Hospital
  2. Busamed Hillcrest Private Hospital
  3. Busamed Gateway Private Hospital
  4. Busamed Modderfontein Private Hospital
  5. Busamed Lowveld Hospital
  6. Lenmed Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre
  7. Busamed Paardevlei Private Hospital
  8. Life Bay View Private Hospital
  9. Lenmed Shifa Hospital

Most of these hospitals have effectively met the below quality parameters:

  1. Providing clear information about medicines to patients
  2. Effective engagement between nursing staff/doctors and patients;
  3. Suitability of the hospital environment for meeting the needs of patients
  4. Effectively managing pain.

Providing world-class treatment, the hospitals comply with strict healthcare laws and also adhere to medical protocols and international standards to ensure quality care. The hospitals have world-class doctors and top-notch infrastructure and provide a wide range of facilities to meet the needs of patients.

What healthcare accreditation standards are followed in South Africa?

The healthcare system in South Africa is accredited by Joint Commission International (JCI) and Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA). COHSASA is responsible for developing and evaluating standards in all sectors and departments of a healthcare facility to ensure hospitals provide integrated and coordinated care. The SafeCare program launched by COHSASA, JCI, and SafeCare Foundation ensures the implementation of internationally recognized standards to improve health care delivery. Clinics and Hospitals that comply with standards are initially given two-year accreditations and this period is extended if they are consistent in providing quality care.

Why should I opt for healthcare in South Africa?

One of the leading medical tourism destinations, South Africa offers affordable healthcare and has superior infrastructure. Medical tourists prefer South Africa for treatment due to many other reasons like world-class facilities provided by hospitals, advanced technology, global exposure of doctors, and accredited hospitals. Liberal laws for the use of stem cells in South Africa have helped it attract a large number of medical tourists for advanced medical treatment. The patient-centric hospitals in South Africa help you with all kinds of organization and administrative tasks and provide a world-class patient experience through all-inclusive care and assistance on a 24/7 basis.

How is the quality of doctors in South Africa?

The doctors in South Africa strive to provide quality treatment utilizing their deep subject knowledge and hands-on experience in handling various complex cases. Having trained in foreign countries like Australia and Cuba, doctors in South Africa use their global exposure in developing deep expertise in various procedures. The doctors deliver great results in dental procedures and fertility treatments and provide complete patient satisfaction through a holistic approach. The high quality of doctors in the country is attributed to factors like their patient-centric approach, incorporation of the human touch in treatment, education at reputed colleges, and adherence to global standards.

How to obtain a medical visa in South Africa?

You can avail a medical visa to South Africa and stay in the country for 90 days to seek treatment. Further extension of the duration of the stay is decided by the High Commission of the country where the patient belongs from. People need to apply for a temporary residency permit in case they have to stay in the country for more than three months. A visa becomes valid the day it is issued by the High Commission and not on the date of departure. Also, an application for a visa is not be accepted more than 30 days before departure. Make sure you have the below-listed documents while applying for a medical visa:

  1. Passport
  2. Passport-sized photographs
  3. Online Application form
  4. Full return flight reservation
  5. Proof of stay in South Africa
  6. Signed official medical letter from medical institution
  7. Signed medical letter from a recognized local practitioner
What are the popular procedures available in South Africa?

Some popular procedures available in South Africa are hip replacement, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, total knee replacement, meniscus repairs. Some other procedures which have gained popularity in South Africa are cosmetic surgery and infertility treatment. Egg donation program is available in South Africa and it is even possible to select your donor, as well as gives you the option of having a surgical or non-surgical procedure, all with very low waiting times. The reasons for the popularity of these procedures are affordable treatment cost, speedy recovery, use of advanced technology, and highly trained doctors.

Which are the most popular cities in South Africa for medical treatment?

The top-ranked cities that are most preferred by medical tourists in South Africa are Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban. Cape Town, which attracts a wide variety of people from different ethnicity and cultures, has world-class doctors and state-of-the-art medical facilities. The reasons for the popularity of these cities are multiple food options, connectivity through airlines, and cheap accommodation. Johannesburg’s public and private healthcare industry coordinates with South Africa's medical schools to create internationally recognized medical specialists and the quality of medical care is on par with Great Britain.

Is it mandatory to take vaccinations before going to South Africa?

Yes, some vaccines are highly recommended or required for South Africa. WHO and the National Travel Health Network and Centre recommend the following vaccinations: hepatitis A, yellow fever, rabies and tetanus, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera. Infants 6 to 11 months old travelling to the country should get 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. Typhoid vaccine is recommended for most travellers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas. It is best to refer to the travel advisory to know in detail about the required vaccines. You can also get in touch with your doctor or the hospital in South Africa for more information on vaccination.

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