Surgery is the most common and most successful
method of treating
nonmelanoma skin cancer. The goals of surgery are
- Remove the entire skin cancer and a margin of healthy skin tissue
around the cancer to reduce the chance of recurrence.
- Preserve nearby skin tissue that is free of cancer and minimize
scarring after surgery.
The main types of surgery for nonmelanoma skin cancer
- Mohs micrographic surgery. This surgery removes
the skin cancer one layer at a time, checking each layer for cancer cells
right after it is removed.
- Excision. Excision removes the skin cancer
along with some healthy skin tissue around it (margin).
- Curettage and electrosurgery. Curettage uses a
spoon-shaped instrument (curette) to scrape off the skin cancer, and electrosurgery controls the bleeding and destroys any remaining cancer cells.
Other types of surgery that may be done include:
- Cryosurgery. Cryosurgery destroys the skin cancer by
freezing it with liquid nitrogen.
- Laser surgery. Lasers use an intense beam of light to remove skin cancer.
- Dermabrasion. Dermabrasion scrapes off cancer cells in the top layer of skin using a swirling wire brush or small particles.
Each type of treatment has
advantages and disadvantages. Discuss your options
with your doctor.
What to think about
squamous cell carcinoma has spread to the
lymph nodes, surgery to remove the affected lymph
nodes (lymphadenectomy) may be done.
chemotherapy may be recommended after surgery.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
October 02, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this
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