Skin cancer is the type of cancer that is diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist, who decides that what kind of cancer treatment should be given to the victim of skin cancer or precancerous skin lesions. Normally, this decision is taken on the basis of cancer type, causes of skin cancer, its stage, location on the body, patientâ€™s age, symptoms of the skin cancer and the patient’s overall health.
However the methods, generally used, are;
- Under Studied treatments (limited to some types)
The first option, used for the skin cancer treatment, is surgery that can be performed in an outpatient ambulatory setup.
Usually, when we talk about surgery, in the context of skin cancer treatment, it involves, the following methods;
It is usually performed to treat the precancerous small growths- actinic keratoses. By applying liquid nitrogen on the cancer surface, the cells become dead and leave the skin. After this treatment, the skin may have left with a white or pale scar. Sometimes, the process has to be repeated to completely cure the disease.
Excision or Excisional Surgery
For small tumors of all types of skin cancer, the tool of excisional surgery is used. After giving anesthetic to the adjacent healthy tissues, the cancer tumors are removed by scalpel, along with a small amount of healthy tissues, to remove the danger of developing the cancer again. Sometimes, suturing is done on the large size wounds. The stitches are removed after some days and left a small scar. A doctor, skilled in skin reconstruction, should be consulted to mitigate or avoid scarring on the skin especially on the face.
To destroy superficial skin cancer or precancerous growths, a precise and powerful beam of laser is used that evaporates the cancer. This method is considered safer as no bleeding, scarring or swelling result as an outcome.
Micrographic or Mohs Surgery
Micrographic surgery is done to treat aggressive types of skin cancer. It requires great skills because the cancerous skin is removed layer by layer after carefully examining each layer under the microscope. A trained doctor can perform this treatment to avoid taking up of the surrounding healthy tissues.
Curretage and Electrodesiccation
This treatment is commonly applied on the small or thin basal cell carcinoma growths. After removing the upper layer of the growth, the doctors use a curet- a circular blade, to scrape away the layers of cancer cells. To dry the wound and kill the remaining affected cells, electrodesiccation is done.
Cancer treatment, done by anti-cancer drugs, is called chemotherapy. It has the following two categories;
Topical chemotherapy is used, to treat the cancer limited to the upper layer of the skin, by applying cream or lotion, contains anti-cancer drug agents on the surface of affected skin. It can cause inflammation on the skin and leave scars.
To treat the cancer which spreads to the other parts of body, systematic chemotherapy is applied by administrating the anti-cancer drugs through pills, intra muscular or intravenous injections.
Radiotherapy is usually applied to the skin cancer that cannot be removed easily with surgery, like cancer on the face. A strong energy X-ray beam is used to destroy the cancer cells. It is a painless process that usually causes local inflammation temporarily but often it brings prominent changes on the treated areas.
Under Studied Treatments (limited to some types)
Some treatments have been studying that may be used for skin cancer treatments. These are applied on the particular skin cancer tumors. These are as under;
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
A combination of laser and drugs, used to destroy the cancer cells, is called photodynamic therapy. Medication that has the tendency to gather cancerous cells and make them sensitive to light is injected in the body. After some period the effect of the medication vanishes except from the affected parts. The next step involves throwing a special light on medication containing areas to trigger the medicine for the annihilation of cancerous cells. If anyone has PDT, he should avoid direct sunlight for six to seven weeks at least. It is now available, to treat cancer, on prescription.
Immunotherapy is biological in its nature. The substances such as Interferon-A and Monoclonal antibodies, which are normally produced by the immune system of body, are produced in the laboratory and infused into victimâ€™s bloodstream. They stimulate the immune system of the body to the suspected cancer tumors. This therapy is under study for the treatment of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer.
Written by This article was last updated on July 20th, 2011, in Cancer