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Sep 8, 2012 1:00 AM by Ian Cross

Cutting-edge surgery rebuilds local man's face after skin cancer

TUCSON - Arizona has the second highest rate of skin cancer in the world, right behind Australia. Fortunately, Tucson is home to one of the best skin cancer treatment centers in the country - The Arizona Cancer Center.

News 4 Tucson's John Overall reports the Center is home to some cutting-edge surgery that is rebuilding lives.

"This looks like it's healing great," says Dr. Audrey Erman, one of the first and only Head and Neck Cancer surgeons in Tucson, as she inspects a spot on Allen Lane's face where a tumor used to be.

Lane has battled skin cancer for years, and recently, a small tumor on his cheek rapidly grew out of control. He's had a lung transplant, so his immune system isn't as strong as it used to be.

"The only cure for Allen's cancer is surgery," Dr. Erman told News 4 Tucson. "It was pretty obvious that it had to go."

Cutting cancer out of a face was not an easy decision. But in Allen's case he had no option - it had to go.

Dr. Erman removed the tumor, and most of Allen's cheek. He could have been scarred for life, but luckily for him, Dr. Erman also specializes in reconstructive surgery.

She rebuilt his cheek with skin from under his chin using a cutting-edge surgery.

Allen is cancer-free, and the reconstructed cheek is healing well.

"You have a clean bill of health my friend," Dr. Erman tells Allen with a laugh.

You can read more about the Arizona Cancer Center's research at:

http://azcc.arizona.edu/

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