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The Advantages of Nonsurgical Skin Cancer Treatment

The Advantages of Nonsurgical Skin Cancer Treatment

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can bring many changes to your life, and it’s common to have questions about your options. Thankfully, many treatments are available to address your condition and provide peace of mind about the recovery process.

Nonsurgical options can treat various types of skin cancer while enhancing patient comfort. Below, you can discover more about each of your options, including the latest developments in nonsurgical treatments.

Approaches for Treating Skin Cancer

There are several nonsurgical and surgical skin cancer therapy treatment options. If you’ve received a skin cancer diagnosis, it’s essential to find accurate information regarding treatment options to find the next best step to treat your condition.

Surgical Treatments

Surgical skin cancer treatments involve cutting cancerous cells away from the skin. There are several types of surgical removal. Mohs surgery, for example, minimizes scarring by preserving as much of the skin as possible. For this treatment, providers repeat the process of removing the margins of the skin until no cancer cells are bordering the excision. This option often requires minimal recovery time and has a high success rate.

Surgical excisions cut away the cancerous tissue with a surgical knife. The resulting wound can heal on its own, or your provider will stitch it up, depending on the size. This procedure often treats basal squamous cell carcinoma, but providers can also rely on it for early-stage melanoma care.

Electrodesiccation and curettage involve a long tool with a sharp scoop at one end. Providers can use the tool to scoop the cancer tissues from the skin and treat the area with an electric current to destroy any remaining cancer cells and close up the wound. This treatment has success rates close to 95%.

Nonsurgical Treatments

Nonsurgical skin cancer removal does not require skin incisions. Options like radiation therapy, cryosurgery, topical treatments, electronic brachytherapy (EBX) and photodynamic therapy (PDT) can be great options for addressing certain types of skin cancer.

Topical creams are a primary option for those wanting nonsurgical treatment for their superficial skin cancer — cancer that affects only the surface of the top layer of the skin. Some creams work by stimulating the immune system to fight off the cancer, while others are a topical form of chemotherapy that kills the cancerous cells. Patients often need to apply the cream multiple days a week for several weeks to treat their condition.

Cryosurgery kills cancerous cells by using liquid nitrogen to freeze them. This procedure is especially ideal for patients with bleeding disorders or patients who do not do well under anesthesia. Sometimes, providers need to repeat this process several times, but this can often occur in a single visit. This technique is ideal for precancers.

PDT involves applying a gel that makes the cancer sensitive to light. A few hours after application, your provider can deliver a special light to kill the cells. This technique is most effective for precancerous conditions and superficial skin cancers.

Radiation therapy is an alternative to surgery when tumors are very large or would be challenging to remove with surgery. Radiation therapy can be internal or external. Superficial radiation therapy is an external option that can treat cancer close to or on the skin’s surface. Internal treatments apply radiation to cancer inside the body.

EBX is an option for patients with non-melanoma skin cancer. This treatment uses an X-ray to deliver a dose of radiation directly to the lesion without affecting healthy tissue. Patients often need several sessions to complete this treatment, and the provider customizes the treatment to each patient’s need based on their cancer size, location and type and their age and medical history.

The Advantages of Nonsurgical Treatment Options

The Advantages of Nonsurgical Treatment Options

There are several advantages of nonsurgical treatment over surgical options for skin cancer. Many nonsurgical options are noninvasive and do not require needles or knives, making patients more comfortable with the treatment process. Additionally, nonsurgical options reduce the chance of scarring after you’ve healed from the treatment. Some options, such as topical treatments, also empower patients to care for their condition at home rather than return to their provider’s office. These options can be more convenient for many patients looking for reduced recovery times and after-effects.

The Latest Developments in Nonsurgical Skin Cancer Treatment

Researchers are constantly looking for ways to make treatments more effective for a larger pool of patients. Although there have been incredible findings regarding skin cancer, there is still room for growth. Many nonsurgical treatments provide more comfortable patient experiences and offer high success rates.

For instance, targeted therapies, such as PDT, cryotherapy and topical treatments, have helped many skin cancer patients in the last few years. These therapies use substances to attack cancer cells while delivering less harm to normal cells.

Researchers and providers are also exploring new drugs, such as those that can block the effects of specific cancer-causing proteins that cause melanoma cell growth. Other drugs can boost the immune response, causing cancer to shrink and go away. A cream (Imiquimod) is a topical treatment that empowers the immune system to react to lesions and destroy them.

Experts are also examining the use of lasers for skin cancer treatment. Laser treatments may be an option for superficial basal cell cancers, squamous cell carcinoma or actinic keratosis. This method is continuously being researched to provide skin cancer patients with more treatment options.

Common Questions and Concerns About Treatment

It’s common to have many questions about the cancer treatment process, including what to expect after treatment and which options are most effective. Take a look at the following questions to ease your mind and help you make an informed decision about your condition.

How Effective Are the Different Approaches?

Each approach can deliver success for specific types or sizes of cancers. Here are the success rates of possible treatment options:

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Treatment?

Every treatment has potential side effects. Discussing your options with your provider will be the best way to determine your best treatment option and what you might experience. Depending on the treatment you and your provider chose — and factors regarding your unique condition — you could notice the following symptoms:

  • Immune system changes, such as becoming weaker for a period of time
  • Skin changes like blisters or discoloration
  • Swelling in targeted areas
  • Photosensitivity reactions
  • Skin reactions in those with sensitivities to some topical treatments
  • Rashes or redness
  • Tender or soft skin
  • Itching or burning
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Bleeding
  • Flaking skin

What Is the Recovery Process for Skin Cancer Treatment?

Your recovery process can look different from everyone else. Your treatment option, medical history, age and overall health, as well as the size and location of the cancer, can impact your recovery process. Some procedures may take a few weeks to heal, while others may require little to no recovery time.

Schedule Your Skin Exam With Berman Skin Institute

If you have skin cancer, it’s essential to treat the condition as soon as possible. At the Berman Skin Institute, you can access a caring and well-trained staff ready to put your care at the forefront. We aim to be as patient-friendly as possible and provide customized treatment plans to address your unique needs. Schedule a skin cancer exam with Berman Skin Institute to discover the best treatment plan for you.

Schedule Your Skin Exam With Berman Skin Institute

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