Buckeye Dermatology is a leading provider of treatments for patients with basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, precancerous actinic keratosis, and other skin problems. If your dermatologist diagnosed you with cancer, the following types of skin cancer treatments in Buckeye and Scottsdale, AZ may relieve you of your disease.
- Mohs Therapy
Mohs surgery is one of the most effective medical techniques for treating basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) – the two most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer. Also known as Mohs micrographic surgery, dermatologists perform this procedure in meticulous stages. They remove thin patches of skin one layer at a time, examining each layer under a microscope to ascertain whether any cancer cells remain. This scrupulous process enables surgeons to remove all cancerous cells for the highest cure rate without compromising healthy tissue and leaving large scars.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the benefits of Mohs surgery include:
- Efficient and cost-effective treatment
- Precise results, with physicians examining 100% of tumor margins
- Spares normal tissue and leaves the smallest scar possible
- A cure rate of up to 99% for skin cancers that have not received prior treatment
- A cure rate of up to 94% for skin cancers that recurred after previous treatment
Brachytherapy is a cancer treatment involving the implantation of a radioactive material sealed inside a pellet, seed, or capsule, or wire inside the body using a needle or catheter. The radiation from the implant destroys the DNA of nearby cancer cells.
In most brachytherapy procedures, a radiation oncologist uses a needle or catheter to place the encapsulated radioactive material in the body directly on or near a malignant tumor. In certain cases, a radiation oncologist will place the radioactive material inside a body cavity such as the rectum, uterus, or vagina. The patient remains sedated throughout the implantation.
An implant allows a higher dose of radiation in a small or limited area compared to conventional radiation treatments that deliver radiation externally. As such, an implant may be more effective at eliminating cancer cells while reducing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
A 2020 study concluded that brachytherapy has a 90% to 98% cure rate against non-melanoma cancer and produces a good to excellent cosmetic outcome. It is an option for cancer patients whose disease has not spread or metastasized to another area of the body. In many cases, oncologists combine brachytherapy with external-beam radiation therapy to optimize the results.
- Superficial Radiation Therapy (SRT)
Treating skin cancer can sometimes leave unsightly scars. Here at Buckeye Dermatology AZ, we specialize in a non-invasive skin cancer treatment known as superficial radiation therapy.
SRT delivers radiation therapy using X-rays. The precise beam penetrates the surface of the skin and targets the cancer cells underneath. Unlike surgical excisions, superficial radiation therapy minimizes scarring and avoids deep tissue damage. It has a 97% success rate.
We recommend adding the following articles to your reading list for more information on SRT:
- Skin Cancer Treatment: Superficial Radiation Therapy
- Skincare Tips During and After Superficial Radiation Therapy
- Superficial Radiation Therapy vs. Surgery for Skin Cancer
- Curettage and Electrodesiccation
Curettage and electrodesiccation effectively remove basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, as well as some precancerous skin tumors. The procedure begins with a doctor scraping the affected skin surface with a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette. After removing the cancerous tissue, cauterizing the area increases the chance of success and minimizes bleeding. Completing the procedure takes as little as one hour, and no stitches are necessary.
Doctors recommend curettage and electrodesiccation for patients who are unfit candidates for more invasive surgical procedures. Cure rates are as high as 95% in carefully selected patients who have low-risk squamous and basal cell carcinomas.
- Topical Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy uses prescription drugs and medicines to kill cancer cells. 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is the drug most often used in treating actinic keratoses, as well as some squamous and basal cell skin cancers. 5-FU (with brand names such as Carac, Efudex, and Fluoroplex) is applied directly on the skin once or twice a day for a prescribed number of weeks. While it kills tumor cells on or near the skin’s surface, it cannot reach cancer cells deeper in the skin or those that have spread to other organs. As a result, topical chemotherapy is mostly used for precancerous conditions such as actinic keratosis and certain superficial skin cancers. The cure rate can be between 80% and 90%.
- Laser Treatment
Laser surgery, also called laser ablation for skin cancer, is a treatment that uses a high-intensity beam of light to eradicate cancer cells. Those who have squamous cell carcinoma in situ (Bowen’s disease), basal cell carcinoma, or actinic keratosis on the skin’s surface are candidates for this alternative to surgical excision. According to a 2017 study published in the National Library of Medicine, laser ablation for skin cancer demonstrated a 93.7% cure rate after one session.
Cryotherapy or cryosurgery is a skin cancer treatment that uses extreme cold (liquid nitrogen) to remove sunspots, squamous cell carcinomas in situ, and some small basal cell carcinomas.
In this procedure, a physician sprays liquid nitrogen onto the affected area. A burning or stinging sensation is common, which dissipates after a few minutes. The cold temperature freezes and obliterates the abnormal skin cells. It can remove small skin cancers on the surface layers of the skin, but it is mostly used to treat precancerous actinic keratoses. The success rates with cryotherapy for Bowen’s disease are greater than 99%, while the cure rates with cryotherapy for actinic keratosis are between 86% and 99%.
A Note from Buckeye Dermatology AZ Your skin requires as much care and attention as any other organ in your body. What may seem like a minor cosmetic imperfection might be more serious. Performing regular skin self-checks and seeing a dermatologist are important steps to prevent and diagnose skin cancer early. If cancer or a precancerous lesion is present, contact us today to determine the best skin cancer treatment for your unique situation.