09 Feb Say Goodbye to “The Big C” with These 3 Skin Cancer Treatments
A skin cancer diagnosis can feel scary and confusing, but you’ve already taken the first important step: consulting a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment. The type of skin cancer, the area it’s located on your body, the size of the tumor, and other factors determine which skin cancer treatment is right for you. Read on to learn more about some of the skin cancer treatments options we offer at Cumberland’s Skin.
During cryosurgery, a dermatologist uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy cancer. There is no cutting or bleeding involved, and zero anesthesia is required. Your dermatologist may need to repeat the procedure several times to remove all malignant cells. After applying the liquid nitrogen, the growth will become scabbed and fall off within weeks.
Cryosurgery is best suited for superficial basal cell or squamous carcinomas. This treatment is for more superficial cancers at the surface of the skin. Occasionally you’ll see cryosurgery treatments for superficially invasive cancers, as well, but this depends on your situation.
To perform a curettage, a dermatologist will use a small curette to scrape off the tumor. Your dermatologist will use area anesthetic for this procedure. The curette uses heat from an electrocautery needle to control bleeding with cauterization. Typically, dermatologists perform curettage in many layers to remove the lesion. You can expect three cycles of curettage and burning.
Curettage is used primarily for small lesions. It’s not recommended for high-risk sites or aggressive forms of skin cancer. Like cryosurgery, curettage has the best cure rate for superficial basal cell or squamous carcinomas.
However, if you have aggressive skin cancer or cancer in a sensitive area, you may need to opt for surgery. Standard excisional surgery cuts the tumor out of the skin, although it removes wider margins of healthy skin—just to be safe. This is done to mitigate the risk of cancer spreading from the lesion. Your wound is immediately stitched shut. After surgery, the lesion is sent for testing. It can take 3-7 days to know if your skin margins are clear of cancer or not.
Surgery is best suited for high-risk cancers like melanoma. Depending on your tumor, you may be able to have excisional surgery in the doctor’s office with a local anesthetic, or at a hospital under general anesthesia.
Mohs surgery is often a preferable alternative to excisional surgery. Mohs has a very high cure rate, faster recovery times, and improved costs. During Mohs, a surgeon does pathology after removing the first layer of skin. This way, they know if they need to continue cutting or not. The look of the surgery site is much better for Mohs than other skin cancer treatment solutions, too.
The bottom line
You have many skin cancer treatments to choose from at Cumberland Skin. Take charge of your health, get educated about your skin cancer, and collaborate with your dermatologist to find the best treatment path. Say hello to cancer-free living with Cumberland Skin.
Cumberland Skin Surgery and Dermatology provides effective, compassionate general dermatology, skin cancer surgery and cosmetic dermatology solutions for our patients throughout the Southeast. With offices in Hermitage, Lebanon, Brentwood and Hendersonville, Tennessee, we’re your destination for high-caliber skincare. Visit our website at cumberlandskin.com or give us a call today at 615-257-7128.