Skin Cancer Treatment

Being diagnosed with skin cancer can be scary!  Fortunately, most skin cancers are easily treated in an office-based setting.  Possible treatments will vary depending on the type, location, and stage of cancer. Our team will work with you to choose a personalized treatment plan that you are comfortable with.  Here, we provide an overview of the main treatment options: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Surgery

Surgical Excision: This is the most common treatment for skin cancer. The procedure involves removing the cancerous tissue along with a margin of healthy skin to ensure all cancer cells are eliminated. This method is highly effective for basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and some melanomas.  Typical cure rates are estimated to be around 95%.

Mohs Surgery: Mohs micrographic surgery is a precise technique used for high-risk skin cancers or cancers in cosmetically sensitive areas. During this procedure, thin layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains. Mohs surgery is most often used to treat skin cancers on difficult sites (head, neck, hands, feet, genitalia) or skin cancers with aggressive characteristics. Mohs surgery offers the highest cure rate (99% for most skin cancers).

Curettage and Electrodesiccation: This technique involves scraping away the cancerous tissue with a curette (a sharp surgical instrument) and then using electricity to kill any remaining cancer cells. It's typically used for small basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. Cure rates are estimated to be 75-80%.

Referral to ENT Oncology: Some skin cancers are too large to treat safely in the office based setting. In addition, some patients would prefer to be treated under general anesthesia. In these situations, we work with head and neck surgeons who have completed a fellowship in Advanced Head and Neck Surgical Oncology to ensure you receive the best cancer care possible. 

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to target and destroy cancer cells. It is often recommended for patients who cannot undergo surgery or when the cancer is located in areas that are difficult to treat surgically.

We do not offer radiation therapy in our office and feel strongly that radiation therapy should be given by a board certified radiation oncologist. We work closely with multiple radiation oncologists in the area, and we are happy to facilitate referral for radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. It can be administered topically, orally, or intravenously, depending on the type and stage of skin cancer.

Topical Chemotherapy: This involves applying a cream or lotion containing anti-cancer drugs directly to the skin. These prescriptions can be used for superficial basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma in situ in some instances.  The cure rates (75%) are not as high as surgical treatments, but these treatments can be an option for patients who want to avoid more aggressive treatments.

Systemic Chemotherapy: Oral and intravenous chemotherapy drugs our typically reserved for skin cancers that are not amenable to surgery or radiation therapy.  If needed, we will refer you to medical oncology to manage these medications.

Commonwealth Dermatology

Address

3055 Washington Road Suite 203,
McMurray, PA 15317