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How do you treat skin carcinoma?

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Quick Answer

Some treatment options for skin carcinoma include curettage and electrodessication, radiation therapy, Mohs micrographic surgery and cryotherapy, explains the Skin Cancer Foundation. Although there are different forms of skin carcinoma, such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, many of the treatments are the same.

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Full Answer

Curettage and electrodessication involve scraping away a skin cancer lesion and then burning the area with an electrocautery needle under local anesthesia, notes the Skin Cancer Foundation. This form of treatment is used most commonly on small lesions and has a success rate of over 95 percent. The procedure leaves behind white scar tissue, sometimes creating cosmetic concerns when the cancer is in certain areas of the body. Radiation therapy, by contrast, relies on X-ray beams to destroy the cancer without any need to cut into the skin, although is has a lower success rate of about 90 percent.

Mohs micrographic surgery is the treatment option with the highest success rate of over 99 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. It involves removing one thin layer of the skin at a time and examining the layers under a microscope until the doctor reaches a layer that shows that no signs of cancer. Cryotherapy, which has a success rate of 85 to 90 percent, refers to the use of liquid nitrogen needed to bring about the destruction of the cancer by freezing it.

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