A skin cancer diagnosis can be frightening, but early detection gives you lots of options to treat it before the cancer becomes harmful. The three most common forms of skin cancer we see are melanoma, basal cell and squamous cell. Treatments vary based on the classification of the cancer and how advanced it is.
Tumors caused by melanoma always need to be removed. Most operations can be conducted in our clinic and the extraction process is usually very straightforward. If the tumor has grown deep into the skin, we will also want to examine your lymph nodes to see if the cancer has spread.
Basal Cell and Squamous Cell
For basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, treatment options depend on the severity of the cancer. For tumors that are at relatively shallow depth in the skin, a cream can be used to remove them. If the tumor is deeper, we typically use one of two options. We either scrape the cancer cells off the surface of the skin or freeze off the tumor with a liquid nitrogen spray.
Other treatment options
For more aggressive tumors or tumors that appear on sensitive areas like the face, hands and feet, it’s best to treat them with other forms of treatment. One popular option is Mohs Micrographic Surgery. This involves removing a small amount of skin from around the tumor and then examining the tumor under a microscope. The microscope tells us whether all the cancerous skin has been removed or whether we need to keep removing it. After the process is complete, the skin can simply be stitched back up.
Another process is called excision. This involves numbing the skin with local anaesthesia and cutting the cancer from the skin. Neither excision nor Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a long or difficult procedure, and the affected areas will heal normally.
If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, it’s very important that you come in for follow-up skin exams regularly. Having skin cancer in one area means that you are at increased risk for developing skin cancer in other areas later in life. Since these cancers could develop at any time, it’s best to proactively monitor your skin.
You can schedule an appointment with one of our dermatologists by calling 651-209-1600 or by visiting our website.