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Skin Cancer Treatment

Skin cancers can be treated using surgical and non surgical treatments.

Surgical treatments used for treatment of skin cancers are physical treatments to remove the tumour.  Depending on the thickness of the lesion the treatment may be more or less invasive.  Thicker tumours are generally treated with excision and techniques include elipse (boat shaped excision), flaps and grafts. On occasion the wound may be left open for a period of time to await results of histopathology (as in the so called 'Slow Moh's'), but in most cases the wound is closed immediately following the removal of the tumour.  Surgical treatments also include diathermy and serial curettage.  This is usually used for superficial tumours on areas of the body where recurrence is less likely.  Both small and large tumours can be treated with this technique.

Non surgical treatments are treatments using medications to attack and remove the tumour. They include Aldara (Imiquimod), Efudix, and Metvix PDT (Photodynamic therapy).  These treatments are generally used for lesions which are thin and on areas of the body where recurrence is less likely, although small superficial lesions on higher risk areas may be suitable for these treatments.

Diathermy & Curettage

Diathermy and Curettage is a treatment using a semi sharp instrument to scrape out the cancerous tumour and uses diathermy to destroy a further margin of surrounding tissue and stop bleeding.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a treatment based around the compound Aminolevulinjc Acid (ALA) or Metvix, both chemicals which specifically bind to premalignant or cancerous cells, and when activated by a bright light, form a reaction that kills the affected cells.

Elipse Excision

Elipse excision is the simplest and commonest form of surgical treatment and involves cutting out a boat shaped section of skin containing the cancer, and then using sutures to bring the edges together.

Flap Surgery

Flap surgery is a plastic surgical technique which is used for treatment of skin cancers where a simple elipse would not suffice.

Wedge Excision

Wedge excision is a technique used to remove cancers from the edge of the lip, ear or eyelid.