How Is Skin Cancer Treated?


The main treatment for skin cancer is surgery, according to Cancer Research UK. If surgery is not an option, then radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy are supplemental and alternative treatments. Surgery usually successfully removes basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers depending on the cancer's stage.

Radiotherapy may be a better treatment option if the skin cancer covers a widespread area of the body or it is in a difficult location on which to operate. Radiotherapy is especially useful for skin cancers that have spread into the lymph nodes. In some cases, radiotherapy and surgery are used together. After surgery, a patient may undergo radiotherapy if there is a possibility that cancer cells were left behind to lessen the chance of the cancer coming back, according to Cancer Research UK.

Doctors may treat actinic keratosis or cancers only on the top layer of the skin with chemotherapy cream, states Cancer Research UK. For cancers that have spread and cannot be cured, experimental chemotherapy tablets and injections may relieve skin cancer symptoms.

Interferon, an immunotherapy drug, treats advanced squamous cell cancers that began in the nose, mouth or head, notes Cancer Research UK. Immunotherapy drugs have been created to treat basal cell carcinoma and actinic keratoses. Photodynamic therapy is an alternative treatment to surgery in cancer cases that have spread to a large portion of the body.

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