Skin Cancer continues to be the most common cancer in the United States. Millions of new cases of skin cancer are reported each year. The majority of these cases are nonmelanoma, which is less threatening than melanoma. Melanoma can spread to vital organs in the body and has led to severe health problems including death.
There are several treatments for both nonmelanoma and melanoma skin cancer that have proved to be effective. Choosing the right treatment for a particular case depends on how far the cancer has spread and where it is on the body.
If skin cancer is detected early enough, it can be surgically removed and sutured, which results in a linear sear. Some tumors can be scalped off and cauterized or frozen with liquid nitrogen.
It is important to surgically remove melanoma tumors as soon as possible before they have a chance to spread. A surgeon will often remove the tumor as well as a margin of surrounding tissue.
Using high-energy x-rays, radiation therapy targets rapidly growing cells and kills them. This process can be performed both externally and internally depending on the type of cancer and what stage it is in.
This treatment uses specially formulated drugs to attack cancer cells in advanced cases and either kill them or stop them from dividing. Chemotherapy can be administered both orally and intravenously. It can also be placed directly into an affected area, which is known as regional chemotherapy. This therapy is typically used for melanoma cases although topical chemotherapy ointments have been used to treat nonmelanoma.
When a patient’s immune system is boosted to fight off cancer cells, it is referred to as biological therapy or biotherapy. Using substances both naturally occurring and created in the lab, biological therapy works to restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer.
These are just some of the many different treatments available for skin cancer. Doctors will work closely with patients to learn as much as they can about the stage and condition of the cancer before deciding on a treatment. In many cases, a combination of treatments are used to completely wipe out the cancer altogether. Not all treatments will work for everyone.
Dr. Mendelson, of Mendelson Dermatology in Phoenix, has worked with many patients throughout her career as a board certified dermatologist to detect and treat skin cancer. If you or someone you are close to has any suspicion of skin cancer, be sure to give us a call right away. The sooner we can address the issue, the better chance of success we will have.