Navigating Treatment Options for Skin Cancer

It can be a difficult experience to hear that you are diagnosed with skin cancer but you can make informed decisions about your care when you have a good understanding of the treatment options. The treatment for skin cancer will depend on the type of skin cancer, your overall health and the stage of cancer. Your preferences will also be taken into account.

If you a wondering when to check for skin cancer, this will depend on your risk factors for skin cancer. For example, you will need to go for more frequent checks if you have a family history or personal history with skin cancer or if you have excessive exposure to the sun or have experienced severe sun burns. You can ask your dermatologist on what the general frequency for you would be depending on these factors. Skin cancer treatment is used to remove or destroy cells while trying to preserve as much of your healthy tissue as possible. Surgery is the primary treatment in many situations and this is where the cancerous tissue is removed along with surrounding healthy tissue so that the cancer can be eradicated completely. Excisional surgery is where the cancerous lesion is cut out along with a margin of healthy surrounding tissue. This will make sure that the cancer is removed completely. Mohs surgery is where thin layers of skin is removed one at a time. And each layer of skin will be examined under a microscope until no cancer cells are detected. This ensures that cancerous tissue is precisely removed while as much healthy tissue as possible are preserved. This is generally used in cancers that have developed in sensitive areas. 

Cancerous tissue

Will be scraped away with a curette in curettage and it the area will be cauterised with an electric needle so that any remaining cancer cells are destroyed. There are non-surgical options for skin cancer treatment as well. These will be recommended for certain types of skin cancer. Radiation therapy is where high energy beams of radiation are used to kill cancer cells. This is used to shrink tumours as well. This is a primary treatment option for cancers that cannot be easily treated surgically. In some situations, this will be done following surgery so that any remaining cancer cells can be destroyed.

Powerful drugs are used to kill cancer cells in chemotherapy

And this will stop the cancer cells from growing and dividing. This method is used for advanced or metastatic skin cancers. These generally cannot be treated with radiation therapy or surgery. Immunotherapy is a way to harness the immune system of the body in recognising cancer cells and attacking them. Many advanced or metastatic skin cancers can be treated this way. There can be substances such as drugs used to specifically target cancer cells based on their genetic mutations and this is carried out in targeted therapy. Skin cancers with specific genetic mutations can be treated this way. Some integrative approaches to skin cancer treatment are nutritional therapy and mind-body therapies.