Monday, July 5, 2010

Know About Skin Cancer Treatment

Know About Skin Cancer Treatment

Discussion of skin cancer is usually divided by far the most dangerous form. The non-melanoma skin cancers include basal cell cancers and squamous cell cancers.

The non-melanoma skin cancer treatment has a high success rate, the skin cancer is detected at an early stage. Australians should regularly check their skin for new growths, any changes in the color, shape or size of existing skin spots. Doctor can also check for skin cancers. History of skin cancer, you should have regular medical checks of the previously treated areas and other areas are susceptible to new cancers.

Diagnosis of skin cancer

Doctor will look at the suspect skin spot and have a skin cancer; doctor will suggest a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Biopsy is a quick and relatively simple procedure carried out with a local anesthetic. The surrounding tissue of spot will be removed so it can be tested at a laboratory. Often the whole cancer is removed at this stage, and you may not require further treatment.

You may also need additional tests, such as x-rays, scans and a lymph node biopsy, to show if there has been any spread of the cancer to other parts of the body.

Skin cancer treatment

When doctor planning the treatment, take a number of factors into account.

* the type and size of the cancer;
* where it is situated; and
* whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

When your doctor knows to what stage the cancer has progressed, they can make a decision on the type of treatment required. The treatment often includes some type of surgical procedure or radiation therapy.

Types of non-melanoma skin cancer treatment are surgery and mohs’ surgery.

Surgery
The whole skin cancer is removed only treatment necessary when obtaining a biopsy. However, if the skin cancer is large or spreading, a larger amount of skin may need to be removed and a skin graft may be needed to cover the area.

Mohs' surgery
In mohs' surgery, specialised form of skin cancer surgery and micrographic surgery can be used to remove large, deep or recurring cancers. It is also used for cancers in areas that are difficult to treat surgically. The mohs’ surgery process involves methodically removing the visible skin cancer and a thin layer of tissue, staining and cutting the removed tissue into sections and marking on a diagram (mohs' map), then preparing and examining the removed tissue under the microscope to check that the deep ‘roots’ of the cancer have been removed and process is going on till the entire skin cancer has been removed.

Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy technique uses extreme cold to treat pre-cancerous skin conditions. Liquid nitrogen is applied to the tumour to freeze and kill abnormal cells. A small white scar may remain over the treated area.

Curettage and cauterisation
Curettage and cauterisation (diathermy) surgery, the doctor will numb the area with local anaesthetic using a small, sharp, spoon-shaped instrument called a curette, scoop out the diseased area. The doctor will use a diathermy instrument to run an electric current into the area to control bleeding and destroy any remaining cancer cells and technique often leaves a flat, light-coloured scar.

Radiotherapy or radiation therapy
Radiotherapy technique is generally used for hard cancers to treat with surgery on the eyelids or nose. Over several weeks, the treatment uses high-energy x-rays to destroy complete cancer cells. Radiation therapy treatment can make the area red and sore, and can produce changes in skin colour and/or texture in the long term.

Chemotherapy
In this technique, a drug is applied directly to a pre-cancerous lesion or sunspot in the form of a cream, for example, efudix cream is applied twice every day for several weeks, with the area becoming red, followed by blistering, peeling or cracking.

Immunomodifiers
Imiquimod is a cream that can be used as a treatment for some skin cancers and pre-cancerous lesions. It stimulates the immune system to recognise and destroy cancer cells.

Photodynamic laser therapy
Photodynamic laser therapy is the combined use of laser light and drugs to make the cancer cells sensitive to light so destroyed by follow-up laser treatment. Treatment is suitable for pre-cancerous lesions and some superficial skin cancers.

By: Carolyn Edwards

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