Skin Cancer Treatment and Information
Skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in the United States, with current estimates showing that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime.
The providers at Southside Dermatology are all experts in the treatment of skin cancer. The director of the Mohs Surgery & Skin Cancer Center at Southside Dermatology, Dr Robert Fischer, has treated skin cancer in over a thousand patients both young and old. Dr Fischer is one of a select group of specialty fellowship trained surgeons in Northeastern Oklahoma and is focused on providing high quality and effective care for your skin cancer.
How is skin cancer treated?
Your provider at Southside Dermatology will likely first perform a biopsy to determine the type of skin cancer. The three major of types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. Depending on the location, size, and type of skin cancer, your provider will discuss the best treatment options for you.
What are the treatment types?
Mohs Micrographic Surgery
Mohs surgery is highly curative for both basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), It includes the precise removal of the skin cancer as well as checking the pathology of the margins in the office to ensure that the skin cancer has been removed. For many types of skin cancer it has cure rates of 98-99%.
Mohs surgery is often the best option for skin cancers in cosmetically sensitive areas such as the face and ears, as well as skin cancers on extremities or skin cancers that have previously been treated with surgery or radiation.
Excision of your skin cancer is often recommended when the tumor is located on the trunk or extremities and there is enough surrounding skin to take an adequate margin around your tumor.
The providers at Southside Dermatology take a margin of skin around your skin cancer as recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), which releases guidelines for the treatment of skin cancer. More information can be found at https://www.nccn.org/patients/default.aspx
Similar to Mohs Surgery, the procedure is performed under local anesthesia while you are awake. After your excision, you most likely will have stitches in place for 7-14 days.
Electodessication & Curettage
Electrodessication and curettage (ED&C) is a procedure that is typically recommended for more superficial or nonaggressive forms of skin cancer. After numbing the area with local anesthesia, your provider will typically scrape the surface of the skin with an instrument called a curette. The process is typically repeated for several cycles. After the procedure, the treatment site is typically left open to heal on its own. For properly selected types of skin cancer, ED&C has a very high cure rate.
Radiation can be used in the treatment of basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin. The radiation is focused from the outside and applied superficially to the affected layers and margin surrounding the skin cancer. The most commonly used form of radiation for the treatment of skin cancers is called electron beam radiation. Radiation is typically given in multiple small doses to avoid side effects on the skin.
Radiation may be discussed for treatment of your skin cancer if you wish to avoid surgery or have a skin cancer and are not a candidate for surgical removal. It may also be recommended after surgery if there is concern that your skin cancer is aggressive and has a high risk of recurrence or metastasis. More information about radiation for skin cancer treatment can be found at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/basal-and-squamous-cell-skin-cancer/treating/radiation-therapy.html
For more information and statistics about skin cancer, please visit: https://www.aad.org/media/stats/conditions/skin-cancer
For more information about skin cancer treatment by Mohs Surgery, see Dr Robert Fischer’s blog entry on Mohs Surgery at: https://www.dermatologyok.com/blog/skin-cancer-treatment-at-southside-dermatology-skin-cancer-surgery-center