Getting the Right Treatment for Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer worldwide. Because of this, much research is being done to offer sufferers the best possible hope for survival. Nearly all of these malignancies are curable if diagnosed and treated in the very early stages. Therefore, doctors recommend early, aggressive treatment for skin cancer patients.
Doctors consider a cancer treatment to be successful if the patient is alive and shows no signs of having the cancer present in his or her body five years after the date of diagnosis. The likelihood of successful treatment depends greatly on which type of skin cancer a person has.
Persons who have basal cell cancer, for example, are most likely to survive and experience successful treatment. Basal carcinomas grow extremely slowly and do not typically spread. In fact, the treatment success rate for these persons is higher than 99 percent. In comparison, those who have been diagnosed with squamous cell have a success rate just a bit higher than 95 percent. It can, however, metastasize to other organs through the bloodstream and lymph nodes if it does not get treated early.
People who have been diagnosed with a malignant melanoma have about an 88 percent chance of treatment success if they are treated before the cancer spreads. Approximately 80 percent of those diagnosed with melanoma are fortunate to find their cancers at this time. If their cancers have begun to spread to other body organs, only about 10 percent of these patients will live for as many as five years after being diagnosed.
Many different skin cancer treatments are available. Those cancers that have not spread can be treated with surgical removal, and this method of treatment is usually successful. If the cancer has spread, however, people may require other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Melanoma is extremely difficult to cure. Therefore, doctors typically resort to combinations of medicines, radiation, and chemotherapy. Sometimes other investigation treatments are attempted. Current procedures being trialed include photodynamic therapy, as well as some types of biological therapies.
How successful a treatment for skin cancer is depends largely on the amount of time the cancer has been present before it is found. Nearly all skin cancers can be cured if treated early. For this reason, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of skin cancer and see your doctor at once if you suspect anything at all unusual.