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Treatments for Skin Cancer

Treatments for Skin Cancer:

The first step in the treatment of skin cancer is prevention. The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid sunburn and sun exposure in both children and adults. Just getting one bad, blistering sunburn during childhood raises the risk of developing skin cancer.

Minimizing long-term damage to the skin and its cells and the development of skin cancer includes avoiding sun exposure during the period of time when the sun's rays are strongest this is generally between 9 am and 3 or 4 pm. Wearing protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and long sleeves and long pants is also important. During sun exposure, it is key to consistently use and reapply sunscreen with a high SPF. Do not use tanning beds.

Once skin cancer has developed, treatment is tailored around a variety of factors, including the individual case, the type of skin cancer, and how much the skin cancer has grown and spread.

Treatment generally involves surgical removal of the cancerous area or skin tumor. Nearby skin may also need to be removed in order to ensure all cancer cells are gone. Surgical procedures may include slicing, freezing (cryosurgery), or burning (electrocautery) the tumor and nearby skin.

If enough skin is removed to cause disfigurement, a surgical procedure may be done to take skin from another part of the body to fill in the area. This is called a skin graft.

For malignant melanoma, local lymph nodes are tested for the presence of cancer cells to check for the spread of skin cancer. Additional surgery, chemotherapy and/or immunotherapy may be needed if skin cancer has spread beyond the skin to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

Treatment List for Skin Cancer

The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Skin Cancer includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

Alternative Treatments for Skin Cancer

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Skin Cancer may include:

Skin Cancer: Is the Diagnosis Correct?

The first step in getting correct treatment is to get a correct diagnosis. Differential diagnosis list for Skin Cancer may include:

Hidden causes of Skin Cancer may be incorrectly diagnosed:

Skin Cancer: Marketplace Products, Discounts & Offers

Products, offers and promotion categories available for Skin Cancer:

Skin Cancer: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

Drugs and Medications used to treat Skin Cancer:

Note:You must always seek professional medical advice about any prescription drug, OTC drug, medication, treatment or change in treatment plans.

Some of the different medications used in the treatment of Skin Cancer include:

  • Flourouracil
  • Efudix

Hospital statistics for Skin Cancer:

These medical statistics relate to hospitals, hospitalization and Skin Cancer:

  • 0.49% (63,037) of hospital episodes were for malignant neoplasms of skin in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 99% of hospital consultations for malignant neoplasms of skin required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 54% of hospital episodes for malignant neoplasms of skin were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 46% of hospital episodes for malignant neoplasms of skin were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • more hospital information...»

Hospitals & Medical Clinics: Skin Cancer

Research quality ratings and patient incidents/safety measures for hospitals and medical facilities in specialties related to Skin Cancer:

Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »

Choosing the Best Treatment Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Skin Cancer, on hospital and medical facility performance and surgical care quality:

Medical news summaries about treatments for Skin Cancer:

The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Skin Cancer:

Discussion of treatments for Skin Cancer:

Skin Cancer: NWHIC (Excerpt)

Most skin cancers are curable. Your chance of recovery (prognosis) and choice of treatment depend on the type of skin cancer you have and how far it has spread. There are treatments for all patients with skin cancer. Three kinds of treatments are used:

  • surgery (removing the cancerous skin or tumor)

  • chemotherapy (using drugs to kill cancer cells)

  • radiation therapy (using x-rays to kill cancer cells)

Biological therapy (using your body's immune system to fight cancer) is being tested in clinical trials. Women with serious skin cancer can ask their health care provider about this kind of treatment.

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is highly curable when found in its earliest stages. Surgical removal of thin melanomas can cure the disease in most cases. The thicker the melanoma, the lower the survival rate.

Actinic keratoses (AKs) can be removed before they turn into cancer. This can be done with a type of laser treatment called photodynamic therapy, by using chemotherapy creams, or by freezing them with liquid nitrogen. (Source: excerpt from Skin Cancer: NWHIC)

Skin Care and Aging -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA (Excerpt)

In treating skin cancer, the doctorís main goal is to remove or destroy cancer completely, leaving as small scar as possible. To plan the best treatment for each person, the doctor considers the type of skin cancer, its location and size, and the personís general health and medical history. Treatment for skin cancer usually involves some type of surgery. In some cases, radiation therapy or chemotherapy (anticancer drugs) or a combination of these treatments may be necessary. (Source: excerpt from Skin Care and Aging -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)

What You Need To Know About Skin Cancer: NCI (Excerpt)

In treating skin cancer, the doctor's main goal is to remove or destroy the cancer completely with as small a scar as possible. To plan the best treatment for each patient, the doctor considers the location and size of the cancer, the risk of scarring, and the person's age, general health, and medical history. (Source: excerpt from What You Need To Know About Skin Cancer: NCI)

What You Need To Know About Skin Cancer: NCI (Excerpt)

Treatment for skin cancer usually involves some type of surgery . In some cases, doctors suggest radiation therapy or chemotherapy . Sometimes a combination of these methods is used.

Surgery

Many skin cancers can be cut from the skin quickly and easily. In fact, the cancer is sometimes completely removed at the time of the biopsy, and no further treatment is needed.

Curettage and Electrodesiccation

Doctors commonly use a type of surgery called curettage . After a local anesthetic numbs the area, the cancer is scooped out with a curette , an instrument with a sharp, spoon-shaped end. The area is also treated by electrodesiccation . An electric current from a special machine is used to control bleeding and kill any cancer cells remaining around the edge of the wound. Most patients develop a flat, white scar.

Mohs' Surgery

Mohs' technique is a special type of surgery used for skin cancer. Its purpose is to remove all of the cancerous tissue and as little of the healthy tissue as possible. It is especially helpful when the doctor is not sure of the shape and depth of the tumor. In addition, this method is used to remove large tumors, those in hard-to-treat places, and cancers that have recurred. The patient is given a local anesthetic, and the cancer is shaved off one thin layer at a time. Each layer is checked under a microscope until the entire tumor is removed. The degree of scarring depends on the location and size of the treated area. This method should be used only by doctors who are specially trained in this type of surgery.

Cryosurgery

Extreme cold may be used to treat precancerous skin conditions, such as actinic keratosis, as well as certain small skin cancers. In cryosurgery , liquid nitrogen is applied to the growth to freeze and kill the abnormal cells. After the area thaws, the dead tissue falls off. More than one freezing may be needed to remove the growth completely. Cryosurgery usually does not hurt, but patients may have pain and swelling after the area thaws. A white scar may form in the treated area.

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy uses a narrow beam of light to remove or destroy cancer cells. This approach is sometimes used for cancers that involve only the outer layer of skin.

Grafting

Sometimes, especially when a large cancer is removed, a skin graft is needed to close the wound and reduce the amount of scarring. For this procedure, the doctor takes a piece of healthy skin from another part of the body to replace the skin that was removed.

Radiation

Skin cancer responds well to radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy), which uses high-energy rays to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing. Doctors often use this treatment for cancers that occur in areas that are hard to treat with surgery. For example, radiation therapy might be used for cancers of the eyelid, the tip of the nose, or the ear. Several treatments may be needed to destroy all of the cancer cells. Radiation therapy may cause a rash or make the skin in the area dry or red. Changes in skin color and/or texture may develop after the treatment is over and may become more noticeable many years later.

Topical Chemotherapy

Topical chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs in a cream or lotion applied to the skin. Actinic keratosis can be treated effectively with the anticancer drug fluorouracil (also called 5-FU). This treatment is also useful for cancers limited to the top layer of skin. The 5-FU is applied daily for several weeks. Intense inflammation is common during treatment, but scars usually do not occur. (Source: excerpt from What You Need To Know About Skin Cancer: NCI)

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