Types of treatment for basal cell and squamous cell cancers include the below.
This is medicine applied as a cream or ointment onto the skin. It’s also called topical chemotherapy. This kind of medicine is only used if the cancer is just in the top layers of the skin. The medicine is applied several times a week for a few weeks.
This is treatment with high-energy X-rays. Electron beam radiation is often used for skin cancer. This type of radiation doesn’t go deeper than the skin. This helps limit side effects. The radiation damages the cancer cells and stops them from growing. Radiation therapy is a local therapy. This means that it affects the cancer cells only in the treated area.
This procedure removes the cancer and a small amount of normal tissue. It’s done on sensitive areas, such as the face. During Mohs surgery, your child is given a local anesthetic to numb the area being treated. The cancer is removed from the skin one layer at a time. Each layer is checked under a microscope for cancer. If cancer cells are seen, another layer of skin is removed. Layers are removed until the doctor doesn’t see any more cancer. The procedure may take several hours, depending on how many layers need to be removed. After this surgery, the cancer is fully removed and the wound can be repaired.
Curettage and Electrodesiccation
This procedure removes tissue and burns (cauterizes) the area. Your child is given a local anesthetic to numb the area. The doctor then uses a sharp spoon-shaped tool called a curette to remove the cancer. This is called curettage. After curettage, the doctor passes an electric needle over the surface of the scraped area to stop bleeding, and destroy any other cancer cells. After it heals, a flat white scar may remain.
This is done to cut the cancer from the skin, along with some of the healthy tissue around it. Your child is given a local anesthetic. Then, the doctor uses a scalpel to remove the tumor from the skin. The doctor may also remove some of the normal skin around the tumor. This is called a margin. Stitches or a bandage strip may be used to close the wound. The tissue that was removed is sent to a lab for testing. If the report shows that not all the cancer was removed, your child will likely need another procedure to remove the rest of the cancer.
This method is used for cancer that is only in the top layers of the skin. Your child is given a local anesthetic. Then, the doctor uses a small blade to shave off the tumor. The goal is to remove the tumor at its base.
This method uses cold to destroy the cancer cells. This method is best for very small cancers near the skin’s surface. The doctor uses a device that sprays liquid nitrogen onto the tumor. This freezes the cells and destroys them. The dead skin then falls off. Your child may have some swelling and blistering in the area after treatment. A white scar is usually left behind. The procedure may need to be repeated.
Types of treatment for melanoma include the below.
The goal of surgery is to remove the melanoma, while leaving as much of the nearby skin as intact as possible.
The goal of chemotherapy is to destroy cancer cells directly to shrink tumors that can’t be removed by surgery. Or it may be used to kill cells that have spread to other areas of the body (metastatic melanoma).
The goal of biological therapy is to shrink advanced melanoma tumors. This type of therapy is done with medicines that affect the immune system. It is also called immunotherapy, antibody therapy or vaccine therapy. The medicine uses the body’s immune defense to attack the cancer cells. These may also be given along with chemotherapy.
The goal of targeted therapy is to shrink advanced melanoma tumors. This type of therapy is done with medicines that target specific parts of melanoma cells. For example, medicines called BRAF inhibitors target cells with a change in the BRAF gene. This gene is found in about half of all melanomas.