How Do You Treat Skin Cancer?
If you recently found out that you have skin cancer, you may feel overwhelmed and scared. This type of cancer typically grows on skin that has been exposed to the sun, such as the face, scalp, ears, neck, arms, and chest. It is more common among people with fair skin, a family history of skin cancer, and too much exposure to the sun. Luckily, there are many treatment options for skin cancer.
Excisional surgery involves removing cancerous tissue and a little bit of healthy surrounding skin. It works best for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. After the procedure is done, you surgeon will close the incision with stitches.
During cryosurgery, your doctor will freeze skin cancer with liquid nitrogen. This treatment works best on small skin cancers that are in their early stages. After the procedure, new skin should grow and the abnormal skin should peel off.
Chemotherapy is used to treat many types of cancers, including skin cancer. It is typically used when skin cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy drugs are designed to destroy the remaining cancer cells in your body.
If all of your skin cancer cells could not be removed during surgery, your doctor may suggest undergoing radiation therapy. The treatment involves using beams of energy to kill cancer cells. The process is generally quick and will cause you minimal discomfort. However, you may experience peeling and blisters after the treatment.
Photodynamic therapy destroys skin cancer cells through drugs and laser light. It is only effective at treating cancers just under the skin and can't help cancers that have spread to other parts of your body.
In immunotherapy, you actually use your own immune system to destroy skin cancer cells. Your doctor will give you certain medicines, such as PD-1 inhibitors and CTLA-4 inhibitors, to help stimulate your immune system to fight the skin cancer.
How to Prevent Skin Cancer from Reoccurring
After you cure your skin cancer, you want to do everything possible to keep it from coming back. Always apply sunscreen before going outdoors and wear protective clothing if you plan on being out in the sun for hours. You should also go to your follow-up appointments with your doctor.
If you have skin cancer, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor right away to talk about your skin cancer treatment options.