3 Kinds Of Skin Cancer Treatment

Posted on: 8 December 2021

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), skin cancer affects one in five Americans. Every day about 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer. These numbers make this type of cancer the most common cancer in the country. While these may be dire statistics, there is good news. There are some ways to effectively treat skin cancer.

Here are three kinds of skin cancer treatment.

1. Surgical Procedures

Surgical procedures are often used to remove precancerous skin lesions, as well as cancerous lesions. Some of the most common surgical procedures used for skin cancer treatment include:

  • Excision. The cancerous tissue, as well as some of the surrounding healthy skin, gets cut out.
  • Mohs surgery. As each layer of a cancerous growth gets removed, it is examined under a microscope until no abnormal cells are found.
  • Curettage. The cancerous skin is removed by scraping it with an instrument called a curette.
  • Lymph node surgery. The lymph nodes near cancerous growths are removed to prevent the cancer from spreading.

The type of surgical procedure depends upon the stage of cancer and the size of the lesion.

2. Radiation Therapy

There are instances when the cancerous growths cannot be removed with a surgical procedure. This may be due to the size of the skin lesion or the stage of the cancer. In either of these situations, radiation therapy is an effective form of skin cancer treatment. This type of therapy uses high-powered energy beams to kill the cancer cells in the skin. Radiation therapy is completely painless as it is similar to getting an x-ray.

Unfortunately, however, radiation therapy can produce some negative side effects, such as:

  • Skin irritation
  • Hair loss
  • Skin color changes

Despite these side effects, radiation therapy is an effective form of skin cancer treatment, especially for basal and squamous cell cancers.

3. Photodynamic Therapy

One more common type of skin cancer treatment is called photodynamic therapy. This treatment option kills cancer cells by using a combination of laser light and special drugs called photosensitizing agents. The photosensitizing agent either gets put into a vein or directly on the skin. The cancer cells then absorb the drug followed by applying a light, which kills the cells.

Unlike radiation therapy, photodynamic therapy does not cause any negative side effects. However, this type of skin cancer treatment can only be used on parts of the skin that light can reach, plus it can't be used on cancers that have spread to other parts of the body.

For more information about cancer treatment options, contact a local clinic.