If you have skin cancer there are several factors which could affect the type of treatment you receive. Your age, the extent and type of your skin cancer, your own treatment preferences, your tolerance for certain medications and the expected course of your particular skin cancer are all determining factors for treatment of the cancer. The most common form of skin cancer treatment by far is surgery. However, there are several different types of surgery for you and your doctor to discuss. You could opt for cryosurgery in which the cancer cells are frozen before they are surgically removed. Alternatively, your surgeon could use electrodessication and curettage which involves heating the cancer cells in order to kill them before they are removed. You also have the option of laser surgery, in which a tight beam of energy burns away the cancer cells with very little damage to surrounding cells. Or Mohs micrographic surgery in which the surgeon slices away just a thin layer of the tumor and then looks for remaining cancerous cells and continues the process until no cancerous cells are visible while removing the smallest number of non cancerous cells possible. Or you may opt for what is known as a simple excision, where the surgeon removes the cancerous cells and some of the surrounding healthy tissue in a bid to get every last cancer cell. Its possible that your particular skin cancer would be best suited to radiation therapy employing x-rays to kill the cancer cells or chemotherapy, in which drugs are used to kill the cancer cells or even a combination of chemo and radiation. Your options are almost endless and your doctor or surgeon can fill you in on the latest success rates.What Are The Signs of Skin Cancer?
Any change in the size, shape or color of a mole is an indication that you need to be checked for skin cancer. Any bleeding or pain associated with an existing or new mole needs to be examined by a doctor. If you notice any waxy-looking or pearly bumps, especially on your face, neck or ears and if you discover any flat scar-like lesions on your back or chest you should see your doctor immediately. A firm red bump on your face, lips, arms, ears or neck could also be a problem, as could a flat brown or skin-colored lesion on your chest or back. A good rule of thumb, especially if you have had sunburns in the past or if you have fair skin, blond or red hair, or light-colored eyes is to have ANY change in the color or texture of your skin looked at as quickly as possible. Not all abnormalities of the skin denote cancer but if you do have a skin cancer, the earlier it is detected the better your chances for survival.Skin Cancer Survival Rates
There are three primary types of skin cancer: basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma. Of the three, melanoma skin cancer is the most aggressive and the most life-threatening. Basal cell skin cancers are very slow-moving and do not spread easily to other parts of the body and are by far the most common type of skin cancer. Basal cell skin cancers have an almost 100 percent cure rate. Squamous cell cancers are the second most common skin cancer and they have an 80 to 90 percent cure rate, especially if discovered early. Melanomas are responsible for more than 8,000 skin cancer deaths a year but when discovered early even melanomas have a 70 to 80 percent cure rate. The bottom line is early detection. Inspect your body on a regular basis and have a friend inspect those areas that you cant see. If you have any question about a lump or a bump or a lesion (especially one that doesnt seem to heal) run, dont walk to you doctor and have it looked at. This is one area where it is far better to be safe than sorry.TSC Sources & Recommended Resources:
Read more about treating skin cancer from this Survivors Club article