Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Exploring Your Treatment Options
What to Know About Treating Skin Cancer
Here Are Some Options to Treat Your Skin Cancer
Finding out that you have skin cancer can be devastating. So many thoughts and fears run through your mind as you wonder how it will affect your life. Allow us to ease the fear a little as we go through common treatment options that may be suitable for you.
Before we begin, please keep in mind that the treatment option your dermatologist recommends will depend on the type, size, and progression of the cancer. Everyone’s circumstances are different and while we can give you common types of treatment, individual cases may vary.
#1 Mohs Micrographic Surgery
We had to put Mohs as the number one treatment for skin cancer, mainly because it has proven to be one of the most effective. With a 99% success rate, little need for downtime or recovery, and zero radiation exposure, Mohs is the go-to treatment option.
Mohs is an in-patient procedure in which layers of cancer-infected skin are surgically removed and examined. The key to this procedure is to cut away and remove all pieces of infected skin and examine them until the examined pieces no longer contain cancer cells, while leaving healthy skin untouched.
Mohs is best suited for recurring cancers and cancers that have been previously difficult to treat. If the cancer has progressed to bones, organs, or lymph nodes, Mohs will no longer be a viable option, as the surgeon would not be able to safely remove all of the infected areas.
For more information, you can read about Mohs here.
Believe it or not, cancer can sometimes be treated by using a special freezing process called cryosurgery. In this procedure, your doctor will use liquid nitrogen to freeze the infected tissues, killing them instantly. Once the tissue thaws, it sheds, leaving your skin free of cancer cells.
This particular type of procedure works best for small cancers and circumstances in which it was detected early.
Phototherapy is a treatment in which laser lights are used to zap away cancer cells. During the procedure, you are given a drug that will make your skin (and the cancer cells) extra sensitive to light. Once the drug takes full effect, the dermatologist will subject the treated area to pulses of laser light emitted at a specific wavelength that is strong enough to rupture the cancer cells but leave your skin and surrounding tissues unharmed.
#4 Excisional Surgery
In some cases, your dermatologist may simply recommend that the infected tissue, and possibly even the healthy surrounding areas, be surgically cut away. This is a good way to make sure all of the cancerous tissue is completely removed and gives it little opportunity to come back.
#5 Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is a very common treatment option for various types of cancers including skin cancer. Cancer cells can’t withstand certain types of radiation, so this procedure exposes the body to high-powered beams of energy that emits radiation, destroying the cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is a treatment option in which drugs are administered to kill cancer cells. Depending on your situation, the drug may be taken via IV, topical creams, or even oral tablets. Chemotherapy may be the last resort for some patients because of the serious side effects. This may include hair loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, bruising, constipation, and more.
If you are in the Cincinnati, Ohio area and want to explore your treatment options, our experts at The Dermatology Group are ready to give you the advice, resources, and treatment you need. Give us a call today!