If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer you may be uncertain about the treatment you will be getting as, even if you have already had your treatment options explained to you in detail by your doctor, you might still be confused by all the technical jargon that was thrown at you. It is also possible that you might not have been able to take in the information because of the shock following your diagnosis.
Below therefore is a brief description of just some of the treatments which may be used when treating skin cancer.
The specific type of treatment you will receive is going to depend upon several different things which include such things as your age and whether or not your cancer has spread to other parts of your body.
Your treatment may include surgery during which your surgeon may decide to remove the cancer itself together with some of the surrounding skin tissue. Just how much normal skin will be removed will be dependent upon the particular type of cancer found and how deep that cancer is. Usually an area of roughly one or two centimeters of skin from the surrounding area is removed.
As well as conventional surgery, some skin cancers can be removed by freezing using liquid nitrogen or removed with drugs like Imiquimod.
A more extensive type of surgery might be needed if a sentinel lymph node shows cancer cells after a biopsy of a suspect area. This type of surgery is designed to remove lymph nodes close to the cancer along with affected skin and is usually followed up with a course of radiotherapy.
A recent development in the treatment of skin cancer is what is referred to as immunotherapy cancer vaccination although research into this form of treatment is still under way and it is as yet not widely available. Chemotherapy may also be ordered if your skin cancer has spread into other areas.
There is no definitive form of prevention for skin cancer but there are a variety of things which you can do to reduce your risk of developing the disease and the most important yet frequently ignored is to keep your skin covered if you are out in the sun.
Every one of us, regardless of the type or color of skin you have should use a sunscreen which has a protection factor of at least 15. You should also wear sufficient clothing and remain in the shade as much as you can, particularly between 11am and 3pm when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. By the same token, it is always advisable not to use sun beds and sunlamps as these too give off harmful rays.
Lastly, keep a check on your skin and pay particular attention to any changes in lesions and moles. If you notice any changes then you should visit your physician as quickly as you can so that treatment can be given