Common Medications and Treatments for Skin Cancer

There may be a combination of treatments to care for a skin cancer. The most commonly performed techniques are as follows:

What is it? How it works
Mohs surgery The tumor is removed in layers which are then microscopically analyzed. This way normal skin is spared and it is ensured that all the affected surrounding areas are obtained.
Excision Removal of tumor with adjacent skin area
Cryotherapy The lesion is frozen with liquid nitrogen; may be used with topical medications (imiquimod).
Curettage-electrodessication The tumor is scraped off with cauterization of adjacent tissue for cell destruction of remaining tumor cells and bleeding control.
Radiation and/or chemotherapy When cancer has spread, chemotherapeutic agents are used which work by impeding the DNA or RNA in the cancer cells. This makes the cells unable to divide and copy, then dying. The faster the cells divide, the greater the success in chemotherapy working to kill the cells, thereby shrinking tumors.Radiation damages the cancer cell’s genes (DNA) and the molecular content of the cell rendering the cell incapable of dividing. The cancer cell then dies.
5-fluorouracil Topical creams for skin cancer treatment become incorporated into the cellular metabolism of the cancer cells rendering them incapable of dividing and replicating.
Imiquimod These creams alter the immune response to help kill abnormal cells and controls them after they have started to grow.

 

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