Skin Cancer Treatments

Several types of skin cancer treatment methods are available for treating skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the malignant growth of the skin cells. They are a result of genetic mutations which occur in the skin genes.

The main cause of skin cancer is said to be the exposure to the sun rays, others like the heredity factor and exposure to certain chemicals and radiations in the past. The oncogenes turn the normal cells to cancerous cells.

The skin cancer treatments differ depending on the type of skin cancer for example the treatments are different for patients with nonmelanoma skin cancer and actinic keratosis. Some skin cancer treatments are standard which are most commonly used these days and some are being tested in clinical trials.

Choosing the most appropriate cancer treatment is a decision that ideally involves the patient, family, and health care team. The standard skin cancer treatment used the surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy. The Photodynamic and biologic therapies are also used in some cases of skin cancer.

Skin Cancer Treatment with Surgery

One or more of the following surgical procedures may be used to treat nonmelanoma skin cancer or actinic keratosis:

  • Mohs micrographic surgery: The advanced cases of basal and squamous cell carcinomas are treated with this type of surgery where the tumors or the cancers are large and recurring. It is an extensive surgery in which the doctor removes the skin layer by layer examining each layer under the microscope, until no abnormal cells remain. The surrounding healthy area or skin or tissue is spared in this surgery.
  • Excisional Surgery: This type of surgical treatment may be used for any type of skin cancer. The most common type of skin cancer treatment method in which the excision is made at the region of cancer and a surrounding margin of healthy skin.
  • Electrodesiccation and curettage: The procedure involves the cutting of the tumor from the skin with a curette which is a sharp, spoon-shaped tool. Later the bleeding is stopped and the cancer cells are destroyed by a needle-shaped electrode. The process may be repeated one to three times during the surgery to remove all of the cancer.
  • Cryosurgery or Cryotherapy: is a treatment that uses an instrument to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue, such as carcinoma in situ.
  • Laser surgery: In this method of skin cancer treatment a precise, intense beam of light vaporizes growths. This procedure aims at minimizing the damage of the surrounding tissue and bleeding. Swelling and scarring are also reduced through this procedure. Most commonly used to treat skin cancers on lip.
  • Dermabrasion: Removal of the top layer of skin using a rotating wheel or small particles to rub away skin cells.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer.

Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.


Chemotherapy is a skin cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing. Chemotherapy method of skin cancer treatment is also of two types the systemic and the regional.

In the former the drug is administered orally or through the vein so that is gets carried by the bloodstream all over the body. In the later skin cancer treatment the drug is injected into specific region or area directly for example into the spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen aiming for better skin cancer treatment.