Skin Cancer Treatment
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and involves abnormal growths of skin cells that can form anywhere on the body, but most frequently appear on skin that is exposed to the sun. There are more than a million new cases of skin cancer in the US each year. Although most cases of skin cancer can be successfully treated, it is still important to keep skin safe and healthy and try to prevent this disease.
There are three major types of skin cancer that affect associated layers of the skin. These major types are:
- Squamous cell carcinoma affects the squamous cells, which are just below the outer surface of the skin and serve as the inner lining.
- Basal cell carcinoma affects the basal cells, which lay under the squamous cells and produce new skin cells.
- Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and affects the melanocytes, which produce melanin.
Treatment for skin cancer depends on the type, size and location of the tumor. Most treatment options remove the entire growth and are usually effective. Skin cancer removal procedures are usually simple and require only a local anesthetic in either our Beverly Hills or Los Angeles outpatient facilities. Some of the treatment options for skin cancer include:
- Freezing – also known as cryosurgery, kills tissue by freezing them with liquid nitrogen
- Excision – the abnormal tissue, as well as some surrounding healthy tissue, is cut out of the skin
- Laser therapy – destroys cancerous growths with little damage to surrounding tissue and few side effects
- Mohs surgery – removes larger skin growths layer by layer until no abnormal cells remain to prevent damage to healthy skin
- Chemotherapy – uses drugs to kill cancer, may be applied through creams or lotions for top layer tumors
Other skin cancer treatment options are also available, including new methods that are currently being studied.
Although most treatment for skin cancer is successful, new tumors can still form. It is important to practice preventive measures and see your doctor on a regular basis. You can also perform self skin checks to spot any changes as soon as possible.
Scar revision is performed at one of our two California locations to reduce the appearance of scars caused by injury or previous surgery. Scars are by definition permanent, but scar revision surgery can narrow, fade and otherwise reduce the appearance of severe or unattractive scarring, which is especially helpful in areas of cosmetic importance such as the face and hands.
There are many surgical methods of scar revision, only some of which may be appropriate for a particular type of scar or its location. These include surgical excision, skin grafts, flap surgery and Z-plasty (repositioning a scar so that it aligns with the face and is less noticeable). The effectiveness of scar reduction depends on a number of factors, including the nature of the injury, your body’s healing mechanism, the size and depth of the wound, how much blood supplies the area and the thickness and color of your skin.