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Treatment Options

If you have a suspicious skin lesion and skin cancer is suspected, Dr. Ryan Schuering will perform a biopsy to determine the type of skin cancer. Once a skin cancer is confirmed, treatment options will depend on numerous factors involving features of the cancer as well as what approaches are most beneficial to the patient. Treatment options will take into consideration one’s age, health, and lifestyle.

Skin cancer treatment options may be used on its own or in combination and include:

  • Simple excision is removal by surgery
  • Mohs Micrographic surgery is a specialized surgical procedure where small layers of the cancer are removed one at a time and examined under a microscope. The procedure is done in stages repeated layer by layer until the last layer has no evidence of cancer cells. This allows for a minimal removal of tissue and more accuracy in removal.
  • Curettage and electrodessication involves using a tool known as a curette to scrape off and then burn the tissue containing the tumor using an electrical current.
  • Cryosurgery is the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy abnormal tissues.
  • Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy radiation to kill the cancer cells and shrink the tumor.
  • Photodynamic therapy is a procedure where the cancer cells are treated with drugs that make them vulnerable to light. A medication is placed on the tumor where is it is taken up by the cancer cells. A specialized light then is shone on the skin, activating the drug and killing the cancer cells.
  • Topical chemotherapy involves the use of anticancer drugs in a lotion or cream applied to the skin in a regimented sequence of treatments. The chemotherapy medication targets the cancerous cells.
  • Topical Immunotherapy uses a drug called imiquimod. This drug can be used to treat early basal cell carcinomas. It activates the immune system to kill the abnormal cells.
  • Targeted therapy uses certain drugs to identify and attack the cancer cells by blocking enzymes, proteins and other molecules that allow for the growth and spread of cancer cells. There are a large amount of targeted therapies depending on cancer type and severity.

Localized BCC treatment options

  • Simple excision
  • Mohs Micrographic surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Curettage and electrodessication.
  • Cryosurgery
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Topical Chemotherapy
  • Topical Immunotherapy

Recurrent localized BCC treatment options

  • Simple excision
  • Mohs surgery

Metastasized BCC treatment options

  • Targeted therapy
  • Clinical trial

Localized SCC treatment options

  • Simple excision
  • Mohs Micrographic surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Curettage and electrodessication.
  • Cryosurgery
  • Photodynamic therapy – only for Squamous Cell carcinoma Stage 0 (carcinoma in situ).

Recurrent Localized SCC treatment options

  • Simple excision
  • Mohs micrographic surgery
  • Radiation Therapy

Metastasized SCC treatment options

  • Chemotherapy
  • Retinoid therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Clinical trial

After melanoma has been diagnosed, tests will be done to see whether the cancer has spread. Treatment options depend upon the stage of the disease. The stage is determined by the thickness of the tumor, whether it has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body, and other factors.

Generally, treatment options include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy is personalized cancer treatment designed to attack melanoma by inhibiting defective genes and molecules that play a role in the growth and spread of melanoma.
  • Clinical trials

Localized melanoma that has not metastasized to the regional lymph nodes may be treated with surgical excision. In some specific cases removal may be accomplished with Mohs Micrographic Surgery. If you are concerned about a specific lesion or seek a full body skin cancer checkup, contact Dr. Ryan Schuering.


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