Many people who have skin cancer may require surgery for effective initial treatment. However, there are several other non-surgical skin cancer treatments that may be considered for the treatment of squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers. These may include topical medications, radiation therapy and photodynamic therapy, just to name a few.
According to Dr. Anna Bar, an Assistant Professor of Dermatologic Surgery at Oregon Health & Science University, there continues to be progress in non-surgical skin cancer treatments that are useful for people who, for whatever reasons, cannot undergo surgery. They are reported to be especially useful if the squamous or basal cell carcinoma is diagnosed in the early stages. However, she also states that these procedures have not been studied as thoroughly as surgery.
The type of treatment that our specialist uses depends on your unique skin cancer diagnosis. Some of the most popular non-surgical skin cancer treatments are:
Radiation therapy – Skin cancer cells are targeted by high-energy rays in order to prevent them from continuing to grow and divide. This treatment is popular for older patients and in cases where surgery may cause cosmetic problems. Radiation may also be used for post-surgery treatment.
Topical chemotherapy – This is a cream that may be used to treat actinic keratosis and superficial basal cell carcinoma. This treatment does not penetrate deep into the skin and may not affect deep cancer cells.
Cryosurgery – This therapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the cancer cells. It is mainly used for actinic keratosis and not usually used for squamous or basal cell carcinomas.
Photodynamic therapy – This therapy involves the use of a topical gel that is applied to the treatment area. This gel soaks into the cancer cells in order to make them sensitive to certain wavelengths of light. The cancer cells are supposed to absorb more of the gel than other cells, so when the light is applied to the area, it interacts with the drug in the gel and affects the cancer cells.
There have been studies that show photodynamic therapy as a good treatment for early stage squamous cell as well as for treatment for lesions in hard-to-treat areas of the body. The benefits often include a good cosmetic result and the ability to treat large areas of skin.
When you have a consultation with our specialist at Doctor’s Approach, your skin issues may be diagnosed. If you have the beginning stages of skin cancer, the proper treatment may be recommended. It is important to get a diagnosis as early as possible, because early detection may mean that non-surgical skin cancer treatments can help you. We have offices in Okemos, Carson City and St. Johns. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more.