Skin cancer is a common type of cancer that can be caused by UV damage, among other factors. Fortunately, skin cancer is highly treatable, especially when it is diagnosed early. Here are five skin cancer treatments that can help you overcome your cancer diagnosis:
Skin cancer typically starts to grow on the surface of a person's skin. If the cancer has not metastasized, simple removal of the cancerous lesion may suffice as treatment. Cryotherapy is sometimes used to treat skin cancer. During this procedure, a dermatologist will use liquid nitrogen to freeze the cancerous lesion. The tissue will then necrotize and fall off over a period of days, allowing new tissue to grow below.
2. Skin Cancer Surgery
Excision surgery is another common treatment for skin cancer. During this type of surgery, a dermatologist uses a scalpel or an electrocauterizing device to remove cancerous tissue from the body. Excision surgery is often performed while a patient is awake, using local anesthesia. Mohs surgery is a specific type of excision surgery that allows tissue to be examined under a microscope during the surgical procedure. Mohs surgery may be used to reduce scarring and increase a patient's likelihood of clear margins.
If cancer is not diagnosed promptly, it may spread to a patient's lymph nodes. If your skin cancer involves other parts of your body, you may need chemotherapy. During chemotherapy, chemicals are used to destroy cancerous cells inside your body. Chemotherapy can cause strong side effects, such as nausea, pain, and hair loss since the medications used also affect healthy cells. Your doctor can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of chemotherapy with you and help you develop a plan to deal with any side effects that may arise.
4. Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is another cancer treatment that can be used to treat metastatic skin cancer. During radiation therapy, radiation is aimed at the parts of your body affected by cancer. Radiation kills cancerous cells by damaging their DNA. Like chemotherapy, radiation therapy typically causes side effects, but it can be a highly effective treatment.
5. Ongoing Monitoring
Once your skin cancer has gone into remission, you will likely need ongoing monitoring. Routine skin cancer screening can ensure that your cancer does not recur. If you do develop additional cancerous lesions, your dermatologist will be able to treat them through cryotherapy or exclusion surgery as soon as possible.