Latest Treatment of Skin Cancer

Latest Treatment of Skin Cancer

The following is a snapshot of the various methods currently in use in treating the various types of skin cancers.

C&E – this is a two-step procedure in which a curette (sharp-tipped instrument) is used to remove the more friable cancer tissue from normal tissue and bleeding is controlled by an electrical current or by a chemical agent. This cycle is repeated two to four times. Nodular and superficial BCC and non-invasive SCC can usually be treated effectively with C&E. It is a low risk procedure.

Cryosurgery – liquid nitrogen is used at very low temperatures ( below -50°C) to freeze the skin and induce necrosis of the skin in the treated area. This cycle is repeated two or three times. It is a low risk and effective treatment for primary superficial and nodular BCC, or superficial SCC. The treatment will result in an open wound that usually would take a few months to heal.

Radiation – this treatment has a reported cure rate of 89 to 95 percent. It is useful for the older people who cannot tolerate surgery, for medium sized tumors and for lesions that are too inaccessible to be removed surgically. Radiation is particularly useful for lesions on or near the face.

Chemotherapy – involving the use of chemotherapeutic agents like 5-FU or Imiquimod cream. The substance is applied directly to the skin twice a day for four weeks or more. It works by causing an inflammatory reaction. Though it is easy to use, there are concerns on possible skin irritation and pigmentation changes.

Surgery – excision is a surgical procedure that removes the entire lesion with an appropriate margin, usually 3-5mm, of clinically normal tissue. The resulting defect is then repaired with sutures.

Mohs Micrographic surgery – this involves removing successive horizontal layers of the skin cancer with a small margin (1-2mm) of surrounding tissue. Each layer is sent for pathological examination. The result of microscopic examinations would decide if further layer removal is required. Because this method has the highest cure rate of 97-99 percent, it is recommended for all tumors in the high-risk areas of the face.

Laser therapy – this involves the use of carbon dioxide laser as a cutting instrument much like a scalpel.

Latest Treatment of Skin Cancer

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