There are various treatment choices for skin cancer, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, photodynamic therapy, and biologic therapy.
If your healthcare provider thinks you might have nonmelanoma skin cancer – usually basal cell sarcoma or squamous cell carcinoma – you will need certain exams and tests to be sure. Diagnosing skin cancer starts with your healthcare provider asking you questions. He or she will ask you about your health history, symptoms, risk factors, and family history of disease. Your healthcare provider will also give you a physical exam.
You’ve been diagnosed with nonmelanoma skin cancer
It’s normal to feel afraid. Learning about your cancer and the treatment options you have can make you feel less afraid. This also helps you work with your healthcare team and make the best choices for your treatment. You can also ask to speak with a counselor. Here are some questions you can ask.
Treatment for nonmelanoma skin cancer
There are various treatment choices for skin cancer, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, photodynamic therapy, and biologic therapy. Which one may work best for you? It depends on a number of things. These include how large the skin cancer is, where it is, and what stage it is. Other things that affect your treatment choices include your age, health, preferences, and what side effects you’ll find acceptable.
Surgery for nonmelanoma skin cancer
Surgery is a common treatment for nonmelanoma skin cancer. It is used in most cases when the cancer is still at an early stage. Many skin cancers can be removed easily and need only very minor surgery. Others may need a more extensive surgery. You will have several surgery choices.
Chemotherapy for nonmelanoma skin cancer
Chemotherapy is done with medicines. With nonmelanoma skin cancer, chemotherapy is most often done by applying strong medicine to the skin to kill cancer cells. Basal cell cancer rarely spreads, and IV or oral medicine is not often used for it. Squamous cell cancer can sometimes spread. If this happens, you may receive medicines may be given through an IV or by mouth.
Radiation therapy for nonmelanoma skin cancer
Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays or other types of radiation. The goal of this treatment is to kill cancer cells. In some cases, this treatment is used instead of surgery. It can also be used to get rid of any cancer cells that may be left after surgery.
Prognosis for your nonmelanoma skin cancer
When figuring out your prognosis, your doctor will consider all the things that could affect the cancer and its treatment. Your doctor will look at risk estimates about the exact type and stage of the cancer you have. These estimates are based on what results researchers have seen over many years in thousands of people with the same type and stage of cancer.
June 13, 2017