Treatment of Skin Cancer
The type of treatment depends upon several factors including:
- Skin cancer type and stage of progression
- Lesion size and body site
- Patient age and health considerations
Treatments can be broadly divided into surgical and non-surgical options. Most skin cancers require surgical treatment to best ensure complete removal. Surgical methods allow close tissue examination by a pathologist.
Care is taken to minimise discomfort during surgical procedures by utilising several techniques including the buffering of local anaesthetic to reduce any stinging. Careful planning and repair techniques are utilised to improve the cosmetic outcome.
- Excison . The full skin thickness is removed and generally sutured. Large defects or those at particular sites may require advanced surgical repair with skin flaps or grafts.
- Shave excision. This refers to removal by shaving partially though the skin thickness.
- Curettage. This involves scaping the skin surface to remove the lesion and can be combined with cryotherapy or diathermy.
- Referral to both private and public specialist surgical services can be done as required.
Non Surgical Methods:
- Cryotherapy is freeze destruction of a lesion. This is limited to small areas and generally reserved for sunspots ( non cancerous sun damaged skin )
- Prescription creams. These are for sunspot removal and some early surface BCC and SCC type cancers.
- Several creams are available, each with particular advantages and disadvantages. The doctors will provide information on the creams and will generally supervise the course of treatment.
- PDT ( photodynamic therapy) utilises light and special creams to remove sunspots. The doctors can refer to Townsville to access this treatment when appropriate.
- Radiotherapy referral to The Townsville Hospital or Brisbane is usually considered when adjunctive treatment after surgery is indicated.