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What is the Treatment for Skin Cancer? This is What You Need to Know

Dubbed one of the most common cancers, skin cancer often occurs on areas of the skin frequently exposed to the sun.

Treatment for skin cancer highly depends on the type of cancer a patient is suffering from. It also depends on what stage it is, its size, the location of the tumor, the overall health of the patient, among other things.

Types of Skin Cancer

There are two basic types of skin cancer, which are non-melanoma and melanoma cancer.

Non-melanoma skin cancers include squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma, which is the most common. These types of cancer rarely spread to other parts of the body.

Melanoma cancer, on the other hand, is rare but more severe as it’s usually likely to invade the surrounding tissues and spread to other parts of the body. For melanoma skin cancer treatments to work, early detection is crucial.

Skin Cancer Treatment Options

Skin cancer treatments for basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas include electrodesiccation and surgery.

Mohs surgery is also an option, and one of the best things about it is that it reduces scarring. When it comes to melanoma skin cancer, treatment options include surgery, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and radiation therapy.

After skin cancer diagnosis, specialists talk to the patient to determine the best possible skin cancer treatments. Let’s expound these skin cancer treatment options and help you understand what each one involves.

Surgery

Both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers can be treated successfully if diagnosed early enough when the tumor is still relatively thin. Surgery is always the standard treatment for skin cancer, and the method depends on where the tumor is, how large it is, and what type it is.

Simple Surgery Incision

A simple incision is usually done by surgically removing the skin cancer and the tissue surrounding it. More often than not, this skin cancer procedure is done for squamous and basal cell cancers.

Electrodesiccation and Curettage

Electrodesiccation and curettage is a different treatment option for skin cancer patients. However, it only works on squamous and basal cell carcinomas at a very early stage.

During this treatment for skin cancer, the skin is numbed, and the lesion is shaved off using a scalpel, a procedure known as curettage.

Electrodesiccation, also known as cautery, is the process of burning the surrounding tissues, which stops bleeding and creates a scab.

Mohs Surgery

So what is Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery, also known as microscopically controlled surgery, is a specialized technique used to excise skin cancer.

This procedure is usually done on areas where sparring tissue is vital, such as the face. This skin cancer procedure begins with the surgeon excising visible cancer and sending it to a pathologist for a skin cancer test.

The pathologist needs to ensure that there are no tumor cells that exist near the margins of the sample removed.

In case there are, more incisions are done on the skin until the margins come up clear. The point of this surgery is less scarring, unlike a case where a surgeon simply cuts a wider margin of the skin to ensure all the cancer cells are removed.

Melanoma Cancer Surgery

Melanoma surgery treatment is more involved and extensive, with more tissue removed. Surgeons make as wide incisions where possible. When the melanoma is large or located in a challenging area, a plastic surgeon is preferred for the procedure instead of a dermatologist.

Sometimes, the two specialists come together to make it work. Some skin cancer specialists are even using Mohs surgery for melanoma as well. If too much tissue is removed, skin graft or skin flaps are done to close the wound, and skin reconstruction may be done in stages.

Adjuvant Therapy

Skin cancers that spread to different locations of the body need a different treatment known as adjuvant therapy.

This therapy is also recommended when skin cancer tests fail to show any evidence of spreading. Most of the time, state two or three melanomas usually recur after surgery, which means cancer cells are left behind after the first surgery.

After recurrence, additional treatments are required, which include targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy, which clean up all the cancerous cells left behind after surgery. These combined treatments are known as adjuvant therapies.

Immunotherapy Treatment

Immunotherapy is also known as biologic or targeted therapy, and it’s used to help the body fight cancer.

Certain materials are used to boost the immune system or restore their function. Two of the most common immunotherapy treatments include immune checkpoint inhibitors and cytokines.

Immunotherapy could also be used together with chemotherapy or surgery as a clinical trial.

Chemotherapy Treatment

Chemotherapy is one of the most popular skin cancer treatments. It’s used when it’s necessary to kill rapidly dividing skin cancer cells. The problem with chemotherapy is that it could kill both cancerous and normal cells, which leads to the common side effects.

These side effects may include hair loss, nausea, and low blood counts. Chemotherapy is usually recommended when skin cancer has metastasized or when there is a high chance of recurrence.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy involves drugs that follow specific pathways involved in cancerous cell growth.

Targeted therapy may not be a skin cancer cure, but the best part about it is that it halts progression. This skin cancer procedure has fewer side effects compared to chemotherapy.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells with the use of high-energy X-rays. External beam radiation therapy is the most common. Internal therapy is also a viable option through brachytherapy, where seeds are implanted in the body.

With melanoma skin cancer, radiation becomes an option when cancer has spread to lymph nodes. It’s mostly used as palliative therapy to prevent bone fractures and reduce pain.

Cryotherapy

This is a technique that uses extreme cold to treat small skin cancers. Specialists apply liquid nitrogen to the cancer tumor, which freezes and kills the abnormal cells.

Know All Your Treatment for Skin Cancer Options

Most skin cancer treatments have a higher chance of success when the cancer is diagnosed early. It’s also important for skin cancer patients to have follow up examinations to detect recurrence after the initial treatment for skin cancer.

If you found this post insightful, kindly go through our website for more!

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells with the use of high-energy X-rays. External beam radiation therapy is the most common. Internal therapy is also a viable option through brachytherapy, where seeds are implanted in the body.

With melanoma skin cancer, radiation becomes an option when cancer has spread to lymph nodes. It’s mostly used as palliative therapy to prevent bone fractures and reduce pain.

Cryotherapy

This is a technique that uses extreme cold to treat small skin cancers. Specialists apply liquid nitrogen to the cancer tumor, which freezes and kills the abnormal cells.

Know All Your Treatment for Skin Cancer Options

Most skin cancer treatments have a higher chance of success when the cancer is diagnosed early. It’s also important for skin cancer patients to have follow up examinations to detect recurrence after the initial treatment for skin cancer.

If you found this post insightful, kindly go through our website for more!

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