Dermatologists and Skin Cancer Treatment Options

Dermatologists and Skin Cancer Treatment Options

Patients know that when dermatologists mentions skin cancer, it is time to to sit up and pay attention. Even if they receive reassurances that everything is okay and the issue can be addressed right away, it makes sense to take action before things are able to progress. The first step is diagnosing the issue and beginning the prescribed treatment as soon as possible.


When dermatologists suspect basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, one of the first options is to have it removed. Then a curette can be used to scrape away remnants. This scraping tool removes not only the cancerous cells but also some of the healthy skin that surrounds it. The goal is obvious to take more than necessary instead of not taking enough and needing to go back and revisit the issue. For smaller areas, the work can be done in the office and a local anesthetic is sufficient.

Dermatologists can also choose to freeze the cancer cells with liquid nitrogen. While the technical term is cryosurgery, it is a fairly simple procedure. Once the area has thawed out, the dead tissue comes off easily. This procedure can also be done in the medical office and handled in just one appointment. It may be necessary to come back in for a follow up to recheck the area.

Other Surgical Procedures

Sometimes skin cancer reoccurs in the same area despite all of the effort to remove it. When that happens, it may be time to take more serious action and set up and appointment for something like a Mohs surgery. Instead of just scraping out the entire area, dermatologists can pull off each layer of skin and take a closer look to ensure that there are no abnormal cells left. There is no need to take out any healthy skin, making it a very precise operation.


When patients hear about chemotherapy, they have a very specific image in their minds. Today’s treatment for skin cancer often involves creams or lotions that can be applied to the area. This will only be effective on a specific area. If the cancer spreads, a more aggressive form of chemotherapy may be necessary and dermatologists often have to refer their patients to other specialists for help.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

A popular alternative to other treatments is photodynamic therapy. It can treat a large amount of skin all at the same time. With a mix of lasers and medication, the skin cancer cells are destroyed. While patients feel confident that they have a clean bill of health once the treatment is complete, the skin remains sensitive to light and it requires that individuals limit their direct sunlight for at least six weeks.

Dermatologists and Skin Cancer Treatment Options

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