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.
It is usually preceded by a shave biopsy to establish the diagnosis. The treatment is repeated at least twice in the one treatment session. In correctly trained hands it has a cure rate of up to 97% on favourable areas of the body, but this can vary depending on the location, type and size of the tumour on the body. Following the treatment, the area is dressed with antibiotic ointment and a protective dressing and usually takes 3 weeks to heal, leaving a pink scar that gradually fades to a pale colour over several months. It can take longer to heal on the lower legs. The treatment is mainly used for small superficial skin cancers which do not have aggressive features. Aggressive tumours need a formal excision with wider margins to ensure complete removal.