Skin cancer is usually treated with surgery. In some circumstances, a doctor may recommend using chemotherapy or radiotherapy, which could also be combined with surgery, to treat skin cancer.

Surgery:

  • Mohs technique: The cancer is removed in stages, little-by-little, and checked under a microscope immediately. The removal continues until only healthy tissue remains.

  • Cryosurgery (Cryotherapy): Liquid nitrogen is sprayed over the cancerous growth to freeze and kill the cancer cells in the skin.

  • Electrodesiccation and curettage: For treating superficial basal cell cancers, a local anaesthetic is administered around the lump or spot and the cancer is scraped out with a small sharp instrument called a ‘curette’. Electric current is then applied to stop bleeding and to destroy any remaining cancer cells.

Other treatments:

Chemotherapy

When the skin cancer is too large to treat with surgery, chemotherapy anticancer drugs such as Imiquimod or Fluorouracil are applied directly to the skin to destroy cancer cells by stimulating the body’s immune system.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT)

For treating cancer on or near the surface of the skin, a light source and a special cream is applied to the areas affected by skin cancer to kill the cancer cells.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It’s more suitable for older people; when surgery is not possible; for treating areas of the body that are difficult to treat using surgery, e.g. the eyelid, nose, forehead and ears; or, for cancers growing deep within the skin.

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