How Is Skin Cancer Treated Through Surgery?

When skin cancer is diagnosed, the first step of treatment is removing the primary lesion. For many people, this step is sufficient to treat their cancer. Dermatologists use different surgical techniques to remove cancerous lesions depending on the lesions' placement and the type of cancer detected. Your dermatologist will lay out your treatment options and give you the information you need to make an informed decision about your treatment. Here are three types of surgery that can be used to treat skin cancer:

1. Cryosurgery

Cryosurgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique that can be used to treat skin cancer by freezing cancerous lesions. During cryosurgery, doctors first numb the patient's skin before applying liquid nitrogen to the area. The freezing temperature of liquid nitrogen kills cancerous skin cells where it is applied. Over the next several weeks, the area that was frozen will peel as the body sheds these dead skin cells. Cryosurgery may cause less scarring than other skin cancer treatment methods, which makes it appealing to many people.

2. Laser Surgery

Laser surgery is another technique used to treat skin cancer without the use of scalpels. During laser surgery, laser light is focused on the treatment area. This intense light vaporizes the skin located in the area where it is directed, thereby destroying cancerous cells. Laser surgery is advantageous because the laser staunches blood flow as it removes cancerous lesions. People who have skin cancer localized on the top layer of their skin can benefit from laser surgery. Laser surgery is also often used to treat areas of skin pre-cancer.

3. Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery is a special surgical technique that can be used in areas where alternative treatment methods are not ideal. Unlike other forms of excision surgery, which remove wide margins of healthy tissue along with cancerous tissue in order to ensure clean margins, Mohs surgery allows doctors to test for the presence of cancerous cells during the procedure. During Mohs surgery, tissue is removed from the surgical site in thin layers, which are then examined under a microscope. This treatment approach takes longer than other forms of surgery, but it ensures that doctors can remove all of the cancer in one procedure, while also disturbing the surrounding tissue as little as possible.

Learning more about the ways that skin cancer can be treated can help you feel calm and prepared for your upcoming surgery. Contact a dermatologist for more information about available surgical procedures and skin cancer treatment.