Treatment For Skin Cancer Depends on the Type
The most common form of skin cancer diagnosed in the USA is basal cell cancer (BCC). This typically appears on the face and usually in patients over the age of 50. It can affect young people as well so always get any unusual symptoms checked out by your doctor.
Typically, BCC starts as a lump and grows very slowly over time until it looks rather like a small doughnut with a central depression. This central pit can become an ulcer. Some men complain that they have a small crusty area on their cheek that bleeds when they shave. They need to see their doctor.
The good news is that basal cell cancer is the least lethal of all three forms of skin cancers. This doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore any spot or lesion though as the ulcer can eat into the bone and may become infected. For this reason any suspected BCC will be removed. Usually once removed that will be the end of the problem. However, some people can suffer from recurrent basal cell cancer and it can be dangerous for those patients with a compromised immune system such as aids victims or transplant patients.
Squamous cell cancer is the second form of this condition and is most typically related to sun exposure. There are other causes of this type of cancer though including radiation or chemical burns. You are most at risk from this particular form of skin cancer if you are already being treated for another form of cancer such as leukemia. Your immune system is lower than normal and so cannot fight it. You should avoid sun bathing completely.
Squamous cell cancers are normally picked up very quickly. They tend to grow very fast and also present themselves as a spot that just won’t cure. It is very important that you see your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect this form of cancer as it can spread very quickly. The size of the tumor will determine the likelihood of it recurring. The treatment is to remove the entire growth and any secondary spread near the site of the tumor. The success rate for beating this form of skin cancer is very good with today’s cure rates well above 90%.
The worst and most lethal form of skin cancer is melanoma. Depending on the site and stage of this form of cancer, treatment can include surgery and chemotherapy. Treatments for skin cancer are improving all the time as we learn more about this form of disease.