Common Skin Cancer Treatment Methods

No one wants to think they need skin cancer treatment: in many people's minds, cancer equates with pain and death. However, having skin cancer does not have to mean the end of one's life. There are many different ways to treat it.

Treatment for skin cancer varies depending upon a person's medical history and how far along the cancer is. However, if a person commits themselves to treatment, they can be sure to live a very full and long life. The following are some of the most common skin cancer treatment methods.

Radiation therapy is often used to treat skin cancer. This treatment involves high-energy rays like the ones used in x-rays. The rays can be directed from outside of the body or can be placed directly inside the tumor. The hope is that the treatment will either eliminate or shrink the abnormal cells.

Another common treatment is photodynamic therapy. This two-step procedure involves the injection of a light-activated drug. After this drug is injected, a laser light is then focused onto the cells via a scope with the hopes that the light will turn on the drug and destroy the cancer cells without harming healthy tissue.

Topical chemotherapy is yet another treatment for skin cancer. In this form of treatment, medication is applied to directly to the skin. Unlike other treatments, the medication is not given orally or injected.

One common way to treat skin cancer is surgery. There are different types of surgery available depending on the location, size, and stage of the cancer. For example, in Mohs micrographic surgery, the tumor is cut in thin layers away from the skin. The hope is that the tumor will be removed without removing healthy cells. This is a common surgery for face-based skin cancer. Another surgery is excision, where the tumor is cut out along with some healthy cells near it. A shave excision involves the tumor being shaved off the skin with a blade. This is to remove tumors near the surface layers of the skin.

One last treatment for skin cancer is freezing. With this approach, early cancers are destroyed or treated by freezing them with liquid nitrogen. After this treatment, the dead skin is taken off once it thaws. The treatment is sometimes repeated if all of the abnormal cells are not removed the first time. 

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