A cancer diagnosis is always alarming, but skin cancer has an extremely high cure rate if it is caught and treated early. There are many treatment options available, and there is a variety of factors to consider when choosing one, such as the patient’s overall health, the type and location of the cancer, how aggressive the cancer is, and whether it has spread. The treatment options include the following:
The simplest form of skin cancer surgery is called an excision and, it can often be performed in the doctor’s office. The doctor applies a local anesthetic to the area and then cuts out the cancer, plus a margin of surrounding skin.
In a Mohs surgery, the doctor cuts out the visible cancer and then removes a layer of skin and has it prepared so he or she can examine it under a microscope. If cancer cells are found in the sample, another layer is cut and examined. The doctor continues removing layers until he reaches one that doesn’t have cancer cells in it. Mohs surgery can be completed within a day, and it has a very high cure rate.
Curettage and electrodesiccation is a type of surgery often used for small squamous cell and basal cell cancers. The doctor uses the spoon-like curette to scrape out the cancer, and then uses an electric needle to burn the remaining cancer cells. He usually repeats the process three times.
Radiation is used to treat large skin cancers or cancers that are hard to remove using surgery. The radiation gradually destroys the cancer cells, and it can involve 15 to 30 treatments. Radiation therapy is generally only recommended for older adults due to the risk of the cancer returning.
In cryosurgery, the doctor freezes the cancer. Freezing destroys the cancer in the treated areas and causes it to slough off eventually.
During this treatment, the doctor applies a chemical to the patient’s skin and lets it sit for a few hours. The cancer is then exposed to a special light that destroys the diseased cells.
If you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer or if you have abnormal moles that you need checked out, Steele Creek Dermatology can help. Located in Charlotte, our team at Steele Creek Dermatology will work with you to determine the safest and most effective treatment options for your needs. Contact Steele Creek Dermatology today to schedule your consultation.