Four Skin Cancer Treatments

Posted on: 16 July 2020

Skin cancer occurs when cells in your skin begin to reproduce abnormally. Skin cancer should be treated as seriously as other forms of cancer because it can metastasize to other parts of your body if it isn't properly dealt with. Fortunately, dermatologists can diagnose and treat skin cancer. These are four skin cancer treatments commonly used to help patients:

1. Cryosurgery

If your doctor discovers a small cancerous or precancerous lesion on your skin, they may choose to treat it with cryosurgery. Cryosurgery is performed with liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen quickly and effectively freezes your skin cancer, killing the cancerous tissue. Over the course of the next few days, the frozen tissue will necrotize and fall off. Cryosurgery doesn't allow your dermatologist to perform a biopsy. Still, it's preferred for small cancerous spots because it doesn't require stitches and leaves a small scar, if any.

2. Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is primarily used when it's impossible to manually remove all the skin cancer from your body. Radiation is harmful to living cells, which means it can do an excellent job of eradicating cancerous cells. This therapy can be used alone or in conjunction with skin cancer surgeries. Radiation therapy used for skin cancer is often well-tolerated by the body. Since skin cancer primarily affects your skin's surface, radiation does not need to penetrate deep into your cells. If your dermatologist prescribes radiation therapy, you will receive a number of radiation treatments where targeted radiation energy will be directed at the cancerous part of your body.

3. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is often necessary when skin cancer has spread into a patient's lymph nodes. Chemotherapy utilizes specialized drugs that kill cancer cells. Unfortunately, these drugs also affect healthy cells, leading to unwanted side effects, like hair loss and nausea. To minimize these side effects, your dermatologist will prescribe the lowest dose of chemotherapy that can still effectively treat your skin cancer.

4. Skin Cancer Surgery

Skin cancer surgery can be used to remove cancerous tissue. It is frequently employed in situations where skin cancer has not spread into other parts of the body. If the cancerous lesion is small, normal excision surgery can be quickly performed. Your dermatologist may recommend Mohs surgery instead, in certain situations. Mohs surgery is very thorough. Your dermatologist will remove cancerous tissue and send it to an in-office lab for analysis while the procedure is ongoing. Once your doctor is sure no cancerous cells remain, they will close the surgical site with sutures.