Skin Cancer Treatment

If caught in their early stages, all forms of skin cancer, including melanoma, respond well to treatment. Depending on the size, location and staging of a tumor, a number of different therapies may be recommended by your doctor. The prognosis for early stage basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is very positive.

Surgical Excision

Surgical excision is the most common treatment for early stage basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas. Under local anesthetic, the tumor is surgically removed from the skin. If metastasis is not detected, surgical excision is often curative. Excision does leave a scar.

Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery is a specialized form of surgical excision used if the physician is unsure of the depth or shape of the tumor beneath the skin. The procedure may also be used for large tumors, tumors that have returned after previous surgical removal or tumors that are in awkward locations for conventional surgery. A surgeon typically undergoes specialized training to perform Mohs surgery.

Instead of removing the entire tumor at once, the surgeon removes the cancer one layer at a time. The aim is to remove cancerous tissue while conserving as much of the healthy surrounding tissue as possible. After each level is removed, it is examined microscopically to determine whether further layers of tissue should be removed. This continues until the tumor is completely excised. Scarring depends primarily on the size and location of the tumor.

Electrodessication and Curettage

Both BCC and SCC may be treated by electrodessication and curettage (ED