Skin Cancer Treatment
There are different kinds of effective surgeries available for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers but its choice depend upon the type, extent, size, depth of penetration and location of cancer.
Excision: The procedure is somewhat similar to excisional biopsy and involves removal of tumor and some of the surrounding normal skin under local anesthesia. This is followed by careful stitching of the skin which will leave a scar.
Curettage and Electrodessication: The procedure involves scrapping of the cancer by curette. This is followed by destroying of remaining cancer cells by electric needle. The process may be repeated more than once and is a good treatment for superficial basal cell and squamous cell cancers. In almost all cases, this will leave a scar on the treated area.
Mohs surgery (microscopically controlled surgery): The procedure is most often performed in cases where either there is a high risk of recurring skin cancer, or when the extent of the skin cancer is not known, or when the goal is to save as much healthy skin as possible like cancers near the eye.
The procedure involves removal of a thin layer of skin with tumor. The removed skin is then checked under microscope for presence of cancer cells in the outer margins. In cases where cancer cells are seen, the next layer is removed and examined. This is repeated until cancer cells are not found in the sample. Although the procedure is slow and takes several hours but it gives a better looking skin after the surgery.
Lymph Node Surgery: In cases where the lymph nodes near the cancer cells become larger than normal, surgeon may consider their removal in a more extensive operation called a lymph node dissection.
Skin grafting and reconstructive surgery: After performing surgical procedure to remove cancer cells, skin grafting or other reconstructive surgeries can be performed to restore the appearance of the affected area.
Cryo surgery: This involves destroying of tumor tissue by freezing it with liquid nitrogen. The procedure can be repeated if required. The growth subsequently blisters or becomes crusted and falls off, usually within weeks.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT): It is an FDA-approved treatment in which a light-sensitizing agent, topical 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), is applied to the lesion and this area is then activated by a strong blue light resulting in destruction of BCCs.
Laser Surgery: Lasers can either vaporize the top layer or penetrate the skin to treat small and superficial BCCs.