A chemical agent that reacts to light is applied to the growths and absorbed by the abnormal cells. Hours later, those medicated areas are activated by a strong light and the treatment selectively destroys abnormal cells while causing minimal damage to normal tissue. This treatment is best for precancerous and some types of superficial skin cancers.
Standard Excision is the removal of a skin cancer along with some of the healthy skin tissue around it (margin). For this procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the area. After the cancerous area is removed, the incision is closed with stitches. If the incision is large, sometimes a skin graft or flap is required.
Liquid nitrogen is applied to the growth with a spray device or cotton-tipped applicator. This freezes the tissue without requiring any cutting. This treatment is usually for pre-cancerous lesions and for the very earliest most superficial skin-cancer lesions. This treatment will result in some short-term blistering, and occasionally, long-term permanent discoloration leaving the skin white.
Cryotherapy is a safe, effective treatment used for many common skin conditions such as warts or actinic keratosis. On occasion, dermatologists prefer cryotherapy for the treatment of basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas.
Your dermatologist will apply liquid nitrogen – a “frozen liquid “ – using a special applicator with a cotton tip. The applicator is pressed gently against the affected area for a few seconds, depending on the size and diagnosis of the lesion. In some cases, the dermatologist will attempt the freezing process twice. Other cryotherapy alternatives include carbon dioxide snow and DMEP.
Cryotherapy usually is not painful and the patient may feel only a slight stinging sensation, which can increase should the chemical touch the surrounding healthy skin. Some redness or swelling may occur following cryotherapy treatment. Cryotherapy creates a blister, which evolves to a scab. Once the scab falls off, new, healthy skin is revealed. Minor scarring is possible in some cases.
Mohs surgery is the most precise and accurate technique for the removal of non-melanoma skin cancer. A saucer-shaped piece of tissue is removed and processed immediately on location for microscopic evaluation. Additional layers of tissue are removed as needed if any tumor remains after the initial stage. Once the cancer is removed, the defect in the skin is repaired. Mohs surgery affords a 99% cure rate while sparing the maximum amount of healthy tissue. It is not indicated for all skin cancers, but is used for recurrent or large lesions, as well as lesions in cosmetically or functionally important locations such as the nose, ears and lips.