Nonmelanoma skin cancer is very common in the United States, and when it is caught early it is typically easy to treat. The purpose of skin cancer treatment is to remove the cancerous tumor and cancer cells and to also prevent the cancer from spreading to other areas of the body, such as the lymph nodes. If you have been informed that you have nonmelanoma skin cancer, continue reading to learn what to expect from different treatment options:
For small areas of skin cancer or when pre-cancerous cells are detected, cryotherapy is often used. During this type of procedure, liquid nitrogen is used to freeze abnormal cells. Cryotherapy can sting the skin, and afterwards the skin will blister and fall off. More than one session of cryotherapy may be needed in order to completely eradicate the cancer cells.
During photodynamic therapy, the area of skin where the skin cancer is located is treated with a specific chemical that makes the skin extremely photosensitive. A high powered light in the doctor's office will then be focused on the area of the chemically-treated skin, which kills the cancer cells. This procedure can cause quite a bit of discomfort, so your doctor will most likely provide pain medication beforehand.
When cryoptherapy and photodynamic therapy are not options, your doctor will most like chose to perform an excision to remove the skin cancer. In many cases, this procedure is done on an out-patient basis under local anesthesia to numb the skin. Your doctor will cut out the area of skin cancer, as well as a small area of health skin surrounding the cancer. The wound will then be stitched up and it is possible for a scar to form.
Mohs surgery is more complicated than an incision and is often used for skin cancer located on the head or neck, large skin cancer tumors, and skin cancer that has reappeared after an excision. During Mohs surgery, the skin cancer tumor is cut out, and then small areas surrounding the tumor are carefully removed and examined under a microscope for signs of cancer cells. Mohs surgery can take several hours, and skin will continue to be removed until there are no cancer cells found.
Since skin cancer is often found on the face, so a plastic surgeon is typically consulted. If you need a large skin cancer tumor removed from your face, reconstructive surgery will most likely be recommended to prevent extensive scarring or facial deformity.
Visit a clinic like Countryside Dermatology & Laser Center for more information.