Learn more about various skin cancer treatment options from the experts at WebMD. There is controversy whether removing nearby lymph nodes is valuable in and other nutrients might protect skin from the harmful effects of sunlight. 8 Ways to Lower Your Cancer Risk · Chemotherapy Side Effects. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the most common types of skin cancer. Find out about risk factors. The drug names link to NCI's Cancer Drug Information summaries. There may be drugs used in skin cancer that are not listed here.
Their and Treatments Effects Cancer Current for Side Available Skin
Back to Skin cancer non-melanoma. Surgery is the main treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer, although it may depend on your individual circumstances. If you have non-melanoma skin cancer, you may see several or all of these specialists as part of your treatment. Your cancer team will recommend what they think is the best treatment option, but the final decision will be yours. Before visiting hospital to discuss your treatment options, you may find it useful to write a list of questions you'd like to ask the specialist.
It may be carried out in combination with a skin graft , which involves removing a patch of healthy skin, usually from a part of the body where any scarring can't be seen, such as your neck, abdomen or upper thigh. It's then connected grafted to the affected area. Mohs micrographic surgery MMS is a specialist form of surgery used to treat non-melanoma skin cancers when:. The edges are immediately checked under a microscope to make sure all the tumour has been completely removed.
If it hasn't, further surgery is carried out, usually on the same day. This minimises the removal of healthy tissue and reduces scarring while ensuring that the tumour has been completely removed. Curettage and electrocautery is a similar technique to surgical excision, but it's only suitable in cases where the cancer is quite small. The surgeon will use a small spoon-shaped or circular blade to scrape off the cancer before burning cauterising the skin to remove any remaining cancer cells and seal the wound.
The procedure may need to be repeated two or three times to ensure the cancer is completely removed. Cryotherapy uses cold treatment to destroy the cancer. It's sometimes used for non-melanoma skin cancers in their early stages. After about a month, the scab containing the cancer will fall off your skin. Cryotherapy may leave a small white scar on your skin. But more aggressive skin cancers, such as melanoma or Merkel cell carcinoma, may require more extensive treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
The most common treatments for skin cancer include:. Surgery is the primary treatment for most skin cancers. For patients with basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas, a dermatologist or other qualified doctor may perform an outpatient procedure using a local anesthetic. In these procedures, like with most skin cancer surgeries, the cancer cells are removed, along with a small amount of surrounding skin, known as the margin.
Learn more about surgery for non-melanoma skin cancer. Learn more about surgery for skin cancer. In some cases, nonsurgical forms of therapy may be used to remove or destroy localized skin cancer cells. These techniques may be used, either alone or in combination with other treatments, to treat early-stage basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas or noncancerous or pre-cancerous lesions.
This technique uses photosensitive medication combined with light in an effort to kill cancer cells. Up to 18 hours later, the treated area is exposed to a special blue light that activates the medication, targeting cancer cells on the skin. This type of treatment is most often used on actinic keratoses, precancerous growths that may develop into squamous cell carcinomas if not treated. Application may be prescribed twice daily for as little as three weeks or as long 12 weeks.
Topical chemotherapy may be used to treat basal cell carcinoma or actinic keratoses. The drug, also known as 5-FU, typically only affects the cells it reaches, and cannot penetrate deeply into the skin.
It is generally used only for very superficial skin cancers. Application may be prescribed for several times a day for two to eight weeks. Imiquimod, which is designed to activate the immune system to attack cancer cells, works by stimulating the body to produce interferon, a natural protein that fights foreign invaders and cancer cells.
In most cases, systemic chemotherapy is recommended for patients with advanced skin cancer, especially Merkel cell carcinoma that has spread to distant parts of the body. Topical chemotherapy may be an option for localized basal cell carcinoma. It may also be used if the cancer comes back, to reduce the size of the metastases and to relieve symptoms, particularly if the cancer has spread to the brain or bones.
External beam radiation therapy EBRT: EBRT directs a beam of radiation from outside the body at cancerous tissues inside the body. It is a cancer treatment option that uses doses of radiation to destroy cancerous cells and shrink tumors. Advantages of using EBRT to treat skin cancer may include:. Intensity modulated radiation therapy IMRT: If you have previously had radiation therapy for skin cancer and are experiencing recurrent tumors in the treated area, IMRT may be an option for you.
Compared to standard radiotherapy, IMRT allows our radiation oncologists to use higher radiation doses than traditional therapies would allow in these areas. At the same time, IMRT helps to spare more of the surrounding healthy skin tissue from harmful doses of radiation. This technology combines a form of intensity modulated radiation therapy IMRT , with the accuracy of computed tomography CT scanning technology, in one machine. TomoTherapy may have may offer the following advantages for skin cancer patients:.
Targeted therapy works by seeking out specific characteristics in cancer cells, such as gene mutations or proteins. Targeted therapy drugs are designed to attach themselves to those cells, to kill them or help other therapies, such as chemotherapy, work better. A certain type of targeted therapy drug approved to treat rare cases of advanced basal cell carcinoma are called hedgehog pathway inhibitors because they target the hedgehog pathway, a signaling mechanism critical to healthy cell growth in the fetus.
The pathway typically goes dormant by adulthood, but cancer cells may re-activate the hedgehog pathways in adults, promoting tumor growth in some cases. Other targeted therapy drugs have been approved to treat melanoma, a potentially aggressive form of skin cancer.
Immunotherapy , which is designed to help the immune system identify and attack cancer cells, may be an option to treat Merkel cell carcinoma and melanoma.
Treating Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer
Look for information in your area about these screenings or call the American The drug does have some side effects, including taste loss and muscle Current local treatments such as surgery and radiation therapy work well for Most basal and squamous cell skin cancers are found and treated at an. How are basal and squamous cell skin cancers treated? It's important to discuss all of your treatment options, including their goals and possible side effects. You may have several different skin cancer treatment options, Although all of these have some side effects, you can work with your doctor to may be necessary if cancer cells are still present following sample analysis.