Skin cancer is highly curable if detected early. With many treatments available for skin cancer, your doctor will decide the best type of treatment for your situation. What type of treatment will be determined by the stage of your skin cancer. If the cancer is detected early, surgery to remove the cancerous area may be sufficient treatment.
There are different types of surgery for skin cancer. Amputation is one type that may be used if skin cancer is detected on a finger or toe.
Excisional surgery will remove the tumor and some of the healthy surrounding tissue. This will ensure that all of the cancer is removed. If the cancer is detected early and has not spread to other sites, this is usually all the treatment that is needed.
A lymph node dissection may be performed if your doctor suspects that the cancer has started to spread. This surgery will consist of removing the lymph nodes in the region closest to the primary tumor. These nodes will be examined for cancer cells. Removing the surrounding lymph nodes can prevent the cancer from spreading throughout the body.
Melanoma types of skin cancer are the more likely to spread throughout the body because they are aggressive, invasive and more serious than the other types. When this happens, surgery is not an option and other treatments must be sought to extend life.
One of the treatments that will be used in addition to surgery is chemotherapy. These skin cancer drugs work by killing off the cancer cells or preventing them from dividing. The chemotherapy drugs used to treat skin cancer are taken orally or given as an injection.
There are side effects from chemotherapy because the drug not only attack cancer cells, they also attack quickly dividing healthy cells. Some of the common side effects associated with chemotherapy drugs are nausea and hair loss because the the chemotherapy affects the fast growing cells in the hair and the gastrointestinal tract.
Another type of treatment for skin cancer that is showing some promise is immunotherapy. This treatment is used in conjunction with chemotherapy. It involves using the body’s own immune system to hunt down and kill off the cancer cells. Specific drugs are given to activate the immune system.
Radiation therapy may be used to treat skin cancer that is widespread. High energy rays are directed on the affected area to kill off skin cancer cells. Radiation is often used in combination with chemotherapy.
If you think you might have changes in the appearance of a mole, it is important that you see your doctor right away. The earlier that skin cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat. Early treatment will give you the best chance of a cure.
MayoClinic: Skin Cancer Treatments and Drugs
Drugs.com: Skin Cancer Medications
National Cancer Institute: Drugs Approved for Skin Cancer
Drugs.com: Skin Cancer
Cancer Research UK: NICE Recommends Against Skin Cancer Drug