Different Types Of Skin Cancer Treatment Options

Is skin cancer curable?

This is one of the most challenging questions whose answer is yet to be found, but that doesn’t mean various skin cancer treatment are not effective. 

However, before jumping on the treatment of skin cancer, you must know abnormal growth of your skin cells is skin cancer. It is the most common cancer that usually occurs on the skin areas that are often exposed to sunlight. There are several types of skin cancer:

  • Melanoma skin cancer invades surrounding tissues and then will spread to other parts of your body.
  • Nonmelanoma is a type of skin cancer that include carcinoma, squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma and others. These develop locally and will rarely spread to other parts of your body.

Treatment of skin cancer depends on the type and stage of skin cancer and your overall health. Read on to find more about different options of skin cancer treatment.

Read Related- How To Prevent Skin Cancer?

Different Types of Skin Cancer Treatment

Excision Surgery

In this surgery, the scalpel is used to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue, and then the site will be closed with stitches. This removed tissue sample is then sent to the lab for analysis. Excision surgery is used to treat the following type of skin cancer:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma

If the cancer cell is still present, then there is a need for a second surgery. Reconstructive surgery or graft is required when a larger area of skin is removed.

Curettage and Electrodessication

In this skin cancer treatment, a curette, a sharp-tipped instrument, is used to scrape off the tumor, and the electric current is applied to destroy the remaining tumor cell and limit bleeding. This treatment is used for

  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

The curettage and electrodesiccation procedure is repeated several times to ensure that all the remaining cancer cells have been destroyed. The only side effect of this treatment is that it can leave a scar.

Mohrs Micrographic Surgery

With a scalpel or any other surgical tool, the tumor will be removed in thin layers and then sent to the lab for evaluation. The process will be repeated until the last layer of tumor cells are removed. This surgery is used for the following type of skin cancer:

  • Melanoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Mohs micrographic surgery has an advantage over regular excision surgery because it can save a greater amount of normal tissue. Depending on the location of the tumor, some reconstructive surgery may still be required.

Freezing Treatment

Liquid nitrogen is used for destroying the tumor that becomes scabby and crusty after treatment, and eventually, the tumor falls off.  The freezing procedure, also called cryosurgery, is repeated several times to ensure that all cancer cells are destroyed. Type of skin cancer in which freezing treatment is used are:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma

After the treatment, the site will have blister or swelling, leaving a scar. Freezing treatment of skin cancer is less effective than surgical treatments; that is why it is often used for precancerous growth.

Systemic Chemotherapy

The anticancer drugs are injected intravenously in the chemotherapy, which travels through your bloodstream and attack cancer cells. This treatment of skin cancer effectively treats cancer that has spread to other different parts of your body. This treatment is used for the following skin cancers:

  • Melanoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma (rarely)
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Skin cancer treatment with chemotherapy can have side effects such as vomiting, nausea, hair loss, tiredness or fatigue and an increased risk of infection. However, once the chemotherapy treatments are finished, these side effects will go away.

Photodynamic Therapy

In photodynamic therapy (PDT), a light-reactive chemical is applied to cancerous lesions, and then it will be exposed to strong light. In this process, the precancerous and cancer cell which has taken the chemicals will be killed; however, healthy cells will survive. Photodynamic therapy can be used for the following type of skin cancer:

  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

After this treatment, you might experience swelling and redness around the site of the procedure. Try avoiding indoor as well as outdoor light after the therapy as the area of treatment will be sensitive.

Topical Medications

These topical medications for skin cancer block the ability of the cancer cells to grow and divide.  You need to rub the medication gel or creams such as imiquimod and 5-fluorouracil onto your tumor several times for a specified duration.  These topical medications are considered noninvasive treatments for skin cancer. It is used for the treatment of

  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Redness and swelling can be seen as side effects of the topical medications. There is no sure way to tell how much cancer cell has been destroyed or is remaining since none of the tumor tissue is removed for biopsy.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is used for treating melanoma skin cancer. In this therapy, biological materials are used to encourage your body’s immune system to fight cancer. Say, for example, the nivolumab (Opdivo) drug targets PD-1 protein located on a specific type of immune cell. PD-1 protein prevents these cells from attacking the cancer cells present in your body. However, nivolumab binds PD-1 and block it so that these cells are no longer inhibited and can freely attack cancer cells.

The immunotherapy drugs may often have significant negative side effects.  However, consult your oncologist to know if the benefit of immunotherapy treatment outweighs its negative side effects.

Radiation For Skin Cancer

Radiation therapy is used for treating the following skin cancer: in this therapy, high-energy beams of particles are aimed at your tumor to destroy the cancer cells. The process is very similar to getting an X-ray; however, the radiation used in this therapy is stronger.

  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Radiation therapy can lead to the following side effects: skin problems, nausea, hair loss, fatigue, and tiredness.

Targeted Therapy

This cancer treatment will target specific proteins or genes of the cancerous cells that destroy cancer cells without damaging healthy cells. Say, for example, a gene BRAF is mutated in the melanoma cells. Cells with this mutation will produce a slightly different BRAF protein than that of normal cells.  Then targeted therapy is done using BRAF inhibitors that target the altered somewhat protein present in your body. This skin cancer treatment is used for:

  • Melanoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Targeted therapy has some side effects such as nausea, skin rash and the development of less aggressive skin cancers.

Key Takeaway

Remember that the type and stage of skin cancer, along with your overall health, will be deciding factor in the prognosis for skin cancer. Your cancer doctor will generate a skin cancer treatment plan suitable for the type and severity of your skin cancer. If the skin cancer is identified and treated early, then the prognosis is excellent.

Our virtual appointments make it simple and affordable to get professional consultation for Cancer treatment. If you have questions about your treatment, book an appointment today with meddo doctor.

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