Skin Cancer Treatment
treatment of skin cancer depends on many factors: stage and location of the tumor, age and your health. Survival
chance is higher when the cancer is diagnosed early. In general, the treatment of skin cancer includes surgery,
electrocautery, cryosurgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy; dynamic photherapy can also be used.
Also called cryosurgery,
cryoablation or targeted cryoablation therapy, cryotherapy is the application of extreme cold to destroy
diseased tissue, including cancerous cells. During the procedure, your physician uses a cryoprobe, a surgical
instrument used to conduct intense cold to small areas of body tissues in order to destroy them. The physician
is guided by imaging techniques to position the cryoprobe precisely on the treated area. While he is freezing
the tissue, he visualizes the movement of the device in real time on a monitor like a television
Skin Cancer Surgery
Surgery is the essential
treatment of skin cancer; In fact, most skin cancers diagnosed and removed early need no other therapeutic
intervention after the surgery. It is estimated that 80% of skin cancers, detected early, are successfully
treated with surgery. Depending on the extension of the tumor, your surgeon can perform an excisional surgery,
laser therapy, Mohs surgery or curettage.
surgery – this
is, by far,the most
common surgical treatment used to treat skin cancer. It consists of using a scalpel to remove
tissue and a surrounding margin of healthy skin.
- Laser therapy
method consists of using high-intensity
light to kill cancerous tissue or to shrink or destroy tumors.
- Mohs surgery
procedure is used to treat large basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell
carcinoma. During the
procedure, your surgeon removes the skin growth layer by layer, and immediately examines
each layer under microscopeto search for cancer cells.
- Curettage and
this is a simple procedurepracticed,
most of the times,in
the cases of small basal cell and
squamous cell tumors. It consists of removing the tumor from the skin with a curette, a surgical instrument designed for scraping
biological tissue or debris during a biopsy.After the
tumor is removed, your
surgeon will use an electric needle to cauterize the remaining cancer cells.
Skin cancer Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is an
important weapon in the treatment of advanced or
metastatic skin cancer. It consists of
using strong drugs to destroy cancer cells by preventing them from multiplying. The protocol varies depending on
the stage of the cancer and your health. In early stage cancers, creams or lotions containing anti-cancer agents
can be used to kill the cancer cells. These chemotherapeutic agents can be administered alone or in combination.
Your doctor will use the option best suits your case.
Radiotherapy is a local
treatment that affects the tumor and the area close to it. In general, it consists of using of ionizing
radiation to destroy cancer cells. Radiation
is often practiced in advanced or metastatic skin cancer to relieve symptoms. Radiotherapy can be used in
association with surgical therapy or alone when surgery is not an option.
Biological Therapy (Immunotherapy)
Also called biological
therapy, immunotherapy is the use of drugs to strengthen your immune system to help your body fight the cancer
cells. These drugs act by activating your immune cells so they attack cancer cells and destroy them. Interferon
and interleukin-2 are the two most used drugs in the treatment of melanoma. Some of their adverse effects
This new form of therapy
involves application of a photosensitizing substance (causing tissue susceptibility to certain lights) on the
skin for several hours before exposing it to a particular light, which can be a blue or red. The substance is
applied on the skin as a liquid or a cream containing aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA-HCl) or methyl aminolevulinate
(MAL). Once on the skin, the drug is absorbed by the diseased tissue and sebaceous glands. Exposure to the light
activates the substance in the tissue, and causes its destruction. You will need to avoid direct sunlight for at
least six weeks after treatment.
Skin Cancer Survival Rates