Skin Cancer Treatment Options

Skin cancer is commonly found in areas of your body that receive a lot of sun exposure, but it can happen in other areas too. Early skin cancer treatment gives you the best prognosis, so make an appointment right away if you suspect an unusual mark may be cancer.

Treatment Options

There are three types of skin cancer:

Squamous cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma

Your doctor will discuss treatment options with you so you can make an informed decision. The best treatment will depend on the location, size, depth, and type of cancer. Smaller legions can be removed with a biopsy, but larger areas will need additional treatment.

Other skin cancer treatment options include:

If your skin cancer is caught early and is still small, the doctor can use liquid nitrogen to freeze the area.

Minor surgery may be needed to cut out the cancerous area and some healthy tissue.

Laser treatment with a light beam generally does not damage the area around the cancer. This is used on surface legions.

Large or difficult areas may require a procedure known as Mohs surgery. During this procedure, the doctor removes skin layer by layer until there are no cancerous cells visible under a microscope.

Photodynamic therapy uses laser light and medications to make the cancer cells react to light.

If surgery is not recommended, the doctor can use radiation to kill the cancer cells.

Creams with chemotherapy drugs can be applied directly to the skin. If the cancer has spread, the doctor may recommend systematic chemotherapy.

Small or thin cancer legions can be treated with curettage and electrodesiccation. The doctor removes the cancer cells with a curet. Then he uses an electrical needle to remove cancer cells that may remain.

Certain types of skin cancer can be treated with medications that boost the immune system to kill cancer cells.