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What procedures do doctors use to treat skin cancer?

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In rare cases where basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma has begun to spread beyond the local skin site, the primary tumors are first removed surgically. Then, you may be treated with radiation, immunotherapy in the form of interferon, and rarely, chemotherapy. However, responses to this therapy are infrequent and short-lived. Some people with advanced squamous cell carcinoma respond well to a combination of retinoic acid (a derivative of vitamin A) and interferon (a type of disease-fighting protein produced in labs for cancer immunotherapy). Retinoic acid may inhibit cancer recurrence in people who have had tumors removed, but there is a lack of evidence to support either of these treatments.

Doctors may use Vismodegib (Erivedge) to treat rare cases of locally advanced, or metastatic, basal cell carcinoma and has been shown to shrink these tumors. Sonidegib (Odomzo) can be used to treat people with locally advanced basal cell carcinoma who aren't candidates for surgery or radiation. It may also be used if the skin cancer returns after surgery or radiation.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: "Skin Cancer."

National Cancer Institute: "Skin Cancer."

American Cancer Society: "Skin Cancer: Basal and Squamous Cells."

American Cancer Society: "Melanoma Skin Cancer."

American Cancer Society: "Targeted therapy for melanoma skin cancer."

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on August 23, 2017

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: "Skin Cancer."

National Cancer Institute: "Skin Cancer."

American Cancer Society: "Skin Cancer: Basal and Squamous Cells."

American Cancer Society: "Melanoma Skin Cancer."

American Cancer Society: "Targeted therapy for melanoma skin cancer."

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on August 23, 2017

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