Traditional Skin Cancer Treatments
Skin cancer treatments have evolved over time, but some traditional treatments continue to provide high cure rates. The treatment you receive depends on several factors, including your overall health, the stage of the disease and whether the cancer has spread to the parts of your body. Skin cancer treatments are often combined, and your dermatologist will recommend the best course of treatment for your condition.
Types of Treatments
Traditional treatments for skin cancer may include the following:
In an excisional surgery, the skin cancer is surgically removed along with a margin of normal-appearing tissue surrounding the tumor. In general, the more invasive the skin cancer, the more tissue is removed. Following the procedure, the specimen is examined under a microscope to ensure that all of the skin cancer has been removed. In the case of a melanoma that is thin and has not spread beyond the original site, excisional surgery may be the only treatment required.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a unique type of surgery that allows surgeons to remove cancerous tissue down to the roots while preserving healthy tissue. Mohs surgery has the highest cure rate of all types of skin cancer treatment, at about 95-99%.
Electrodesiccation and Curettage is a surgical procedure which is often used to treat basal cell and squamous cell tumors in their earliest stages. It involves scraping off (curettage) the surface of the skin cancer and gently burning or cauterizing the base of it with an electric needle. This scraping and cauterizing process is typically repeated several times to ensure all cancerous tissue is removed.
Cryosurgery is a technique using liquid nitrogen for freezing and killing abnormal cells. It is used to treat some precancerous or noncancerous conditions such as actinic keratoses. Cryosurgery may have fewer side effects than other types of treatments, and is less expensive and requires shorter recovery times, however, the technique is still under study, and its long-term effectiveness is not known.
Biologic Therapy uses newer immune-system modulating drugs that help your body fight the cancer.