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Skin cancer
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Skin cancer

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WOMEN'S HEALTH

Hair/Nails/Skin

CANCER

Skin

From MayoClinic.com

 

Treatment

Treatments vary for skin cancers and precancerous skin lesions known as actinic keratoses, which may occur on sun-damaged skin. Treatments depend on the size, type, depth and location of a lesion or lesions. Most treatments use a local anesthetic and can be performed in an outpatient setting. Sometimes no treatment is necessary beyond an initial biopsy that removes the entire growth. If additional treatment is necessary, your options include:

  • Freezing. Your doctor may destroy actinic keratoses and some small, early skin cancers by freezing them with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery). The dead tissue sloughs off when it thaws. The treatment may leave a small, white scar. You may also need a repeat treatment to remove the growth completely.

  • Excisional surgery. This type of treatment may be appropriate for any type of skin cancer. Your doctor cuts out (excises) the cancerous tissue and a surrounding margin of healthy skin. A wide excision — taking out extra normal skin around the tumor — may be best for melanoma. To minimize or avoid scarring, especially on your face, you may need to go to a doctor skilled in skin reconstruction.

  • Laser therapy. A precise, intense beam of light vaporizes growths, generally with little damage to surrounding tissue and with minimal bleeding, swelling and scarring. A doctor may use this therapy to treat superficial skin cancers or precancerous growths on lips.

  • Mohs' surgery. This procedure is for larger, recurring or difficult-to-treat skin cancers, which may include both basal cell and squamous cell cancers. Your doctor removes the skin growth layer by layer, examining each layer under the microscope, until no abnormal cells remain. This treatment is most able to remove skin cancer without taking an excessive amount of surrounding healthy skin.

  • Curettage and electrodesiccation. After removing most of a growth, your doctor scrapes away layers of cancer cells using a circular blade (curet). An electric needle destroys any remaining cancer cells. This simple, quick procedure is common in treating small or thin basal cell cancers. It leaves a small, flat, white scar.

  • Radiation therapy. Radiation may destroy basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers if surgery isn't an option.

  • Chemotherapy. In chemotherapy, drugs are used to kill cancer cells. With skin cancer, chemotherapy can be delivered topically by applying creams or lotions containing anti-cancer agents to the skin. This treatment is useful for cancers limited to the top layer of the skin. An example of an anti-cancer drug applied topically for localized superficial forms of skin cancer or for actinic keratoses is 5 fluorouracil (5-FU).

Treatments for skin cancer under study include:

  • Photodynamic therapy. This treatment destroys skin cancer cells with a combination of laser light and drugs that makes cancer cells sensitive to light. Photodynamic therapy for precancerous skin lesions is currently available by prescription.

  • Biologic therapy (also called immunotherapy). Interferon and interleukin-2 are under study to treat melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. These immunotherapy drugs stimulate your immune system to fight the cancer. Other medications applied to your skin, such as imiquimod (Aldara), enhance your immune reaction to the presence of skin cancer.

Skin cancer  > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 


 



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