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Skin Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Options for Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer

A link to a list of current clinical trials is included for each treatment section. For some types or stages of cancer, there may not be any trials listed. Check with your doctor for clinical trials that are not listed here but may be right for you.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

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General Information About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the skin. The skin is the body's largest organ. It protects against heat, sunlight, injury, and infection. Skin also helps control body temperature and stores water, fat, and vitamin D. The skin has several layers, but the two main layers are the epidermis (upper or outer layer) and the dermis (lower or inner layer). The epidermis is made up of 3 kinds of cells: Squamous cells are the thin, flat cells that...

Read the General Information About Skin Cancer article > >

Treatment of basal cell carcinoma may include the following:

  • Simple excision.
  • Mohs micrographic surgery.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Electrodesiccation and curettage.
  • Cryosurgery.
  • Photodynamic therapy.
  • Topical chemotherapy.
  • Topical biologic therapy with imiquimod.
  • Laser surgery.

Treatment of recurrent basal cell carcinoma is usually Mohs micrographic surgery.

Treatment of basal cell carcinoma that is metastatic or cannot be treated with local therapy is usually chemotherapy or a clinical trial of a new treatment.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with basal cell carcinoma of the skin. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Treatment of squamous cell carcinoma may include the following:

  • Simple excision.
  • Mohs micrographic surgery.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Electrodesiccation and curettage.
  • Cryosurgery.

Treatment of recurrent squamous cell carcinoma may include the following:

  • Simple excision.
  • Mohs micrographic surgery.
  • Radiation therapy.

Treatment of squamous cell carcinoma that is metastatic or cannot be treated with local therapy may include the following:

  • Chemotherapy.
  • Retinoid therapy and biologic therapy with interferon.
  • A clinical trial of a new treatment.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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