Being diagnosed with skin cancer is a very scary thing to face. Fortunately, there are different methods of treating skin cancer that are often very successful. The type of treatment used may vary depending on the type of cancer the patient has and the severity of their condition. These are some different types of treatment that are commonly used for skin cancer.
Surgery is one of the most common ways to treat skin cancer. This is normally performed if the cancer is discovered in the early stages before it spreads to other areas of the body. The surgeon will remove all of the skin that contains the cancer as well as a small amount of skin around the cancerous skin cells. This helps keep the cancer from returning and guarantees that all of it is removed. Surgery is performed more commonly for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
Topical Skin Cancer Treatments
Sometimes skin cancer can be treated topically without surgery. This most often occurs with basal or squamous cell carcinoma when there is only a very small area of cancer cells. This treatment may be done in one of two ways. A photosensitive medication may be applied to the cancer cells and then a special blue light is applied to the area to activate the medication so that the cancer cells are killed.
A topical chemotherapy medication cream can also be used to treat skin cancer. This is done by applying the chemotherapy medication cream directly to the skin cancer twice a day, every day. This treatment may need to be repeated daily for several weeks depending on the size and severity of the skin cancer. Both of these types of treatments are normally used for treating cancers that do not go deep into the layers of the skin.
Immunotherapy may be used to treat skin cancers such as Merkel cell carcinoma and melanoma as long as they have not already spread throughout the body. This treatment involves taking immunotherapy drugs that increase and strengthen the body's own immune cells so that cancer cells are attacked and killed.
For those who are in the middle to late stages of skin cancer, it may be necessary to treat the cancer using surgery, chemotherapy drugs, and radiation. This helps stop the cancer cells from spreading to the other organs of the body. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are often used in treating those who are in the advanced stages of Merkel cell carcinoma and melanoma.