Skin cancer is often a result of sun damage over time, although some people are more prone to developing this condition than others. Skin cancer surgery can help patients recover from all types of skin cancer, from the least to the most aggressive. These are four ways that dermatologists can treat skin cancer:
1. Chemical Peels
Chemical peels can be used to treat minor cases of skin cancer. For this treatment, dermatologists apply an acid or other irritant to the area to be treated. The acid burns off the affected layer of skin, eradicating the cancer cells and allowing healthy new skin to grow. Chemical peel treatment is only indicated for mild cases of skin cancer. It has the drawback of disallowing the use of biopsy, which is typically combined with other forms of skin cancer treatment.
2. Mohs Surgery
Mohs surgery is a common treatment for skin cancer. This type of excision surgery combines the surgical removal of cancerous lesions with real-time lab testing. Pieces of removed tissue are tested for the presence of skin cancer until the last sample's margins are clear. Mohs surgery allows surgeons to ensure that they remove all skin cancer from a patient's body during a single procedure. While Mohs surgery may take longer than other surgical procedures, it is suitable for use on all areas of the body, even sensitive areas, such as the hands, scalp, and face.
3. Photodynamic Therapy
Photodynamic therapy is another treatment method that can be used to eradicate cancer cells. This treatment utilizes lasers to kill cancer cells. Before treatment, patients are given drugs to increase their photosensitivity, which allows photodynamic therapy to be more effective. People undergoing photodynamic therapy should avoid sun exposure until the photodynamic drugs wear off; your dermatologist can tell you how long that will take.
Many cases of skin cancer remain localized to the skin. However, skin cancer can metastasize to lymph nodes and other areas of the body. If your skin cancer has spread throughout your body, your dermatologist will recommend cancer treatments that address the problem systemically. In addition to excision surgery, your doctor may suggest chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is a powerful cancer treatment that utilizes chemotherapy drugs to kill cancerous cells in your body. Because chemotherapy affects healthy cells as well, patients often experience side effects. If your doctor recommends this treatment, it is because they believe it is your best chance at recovery.
Contact a local dermatologist to learn more about skin cancer treatment.