It’s normal to feel scared and worried after being diagnosed with skin cancer. Learning your options for treatment and deciding what to do to combat it after a diagnosis, can help you overcome these fears with a positive plan of action.
If skin cancer is caught in the very early stages, freezing can be used to kill the cells. Liquid nitrogen is applied to the cancerous skin, which then dies and sloughs off of the healthy skin. The procedure is often done in areas that are precancerous.
Excision involves removing the cancerous skin as well as a portion of healthy skin around the cancerous portion. According to doctors at Dermatology Surgery Center, excision is most effective in patients who have basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Excision is preferred by many doctors due its 90 percent success rate, the minimal scarring the procedure leaves after surgery and because treatment is completed in one session.
During the procedure, your doctor will first mark the area that needs to be removed. Healthy tissue is also removed for testing to determine if the cancer cells have spread beyond its initial location. A local anesthetic will be administered so that the patient will not feel pain during the removal. The malignant portion will then be removed and stitches or sutures will be used to close it up once more. If the portion that had to be removed is large, a skin graft may be necessary to repair the area. The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.
Mohs surgery is used for patients who have skin cancer in a noticeable location, such as on the nose, or who have had recurring cancer in the area. During this procedure, the patient is given a local anesthetic to prevent pain. Next, the skin is removed layer by layer and closely examined under a microscope to look for cancerous cells. The layers are removed until no cancer cells remain. The procedure takes longer but allows doctors to remove the cancerous cells without taking too much skin.
In cases where a large portion of skin had to be removed to treat the cancerous portion, reconstructive skin surgery and repair may need to take place after the patient has healed. Skin repair can minimize scarring and make the patient’s skin look smoother and more natural.
Thanks to medical advances, people diagnosed with skin cancer can go on to live long and healthy lives. If you’ve been diagnosed, talk with your doctor about which treatment is right for you.