At Bay Oaks Dermatology, we believe in a two-fold approach
for skin cancers:
- Aggressive treatment that minimizes scars
- Prevention of future skin cancers.
C&D (Curettage and Dessication)
With this technique, tumor cells are scraped away and then a
short electric pulse is used to cauterize the remaining tumor
cells. It is very effective for certain types of pre-cancers and
skin cancers that have a low recurrence rate. Curettage and dessication
is not effective in treating melanoma or invasive cancers.
Croysurgery is especially effective in treating pre-cancerous
lesions like actinic keratoses, as well as smaller basal cell
and squamous cell carcinomas. A liquid nitrogen spray freezes
and destroys the tumor. In addition to liquid nitrogen, ethyl
chloride may be used. Since this treatment option does not break
the skin it frequently results in little scarring. One may see
a slight discoloration or increase in color in the area that is
If the tumor is large or if the skin cancer is aggressive, as
is melanoma, an excision is necessary. Excisions are used to treat
both new and recurring tumors. With surgical excisions a margin
of healthy skin is cut around the cancerous region to ensure that
the entire cancer is removed. Depending on the size and location
of the excision it is often necessary to stitch up the open skin,
or move skin to cover the area from nearby healthy skin, called
a flap. Sometimes it may be necessary to take skin from another
part of the body and relocate it to cover the wound. This technique
promotes a healthy recovery of the surgical site. This is called
a graft. If the excision is small and/or shallow there may not
be a need for a closure. Allowing the wound to heal openly is
called healing by second intention.
Effudex® is a topical cream used to treat actinic keratosis
and superficial basal cell carcinomas. It is absorbed through
the skin and bonds with the fast-growing cancer cells, leaving
the healthy cells unharmed. The total course of treatment takes
approximately two to three weeks. One of the benefits of this
treatment is that it minimizes scarring, but the skin can become
very raw during the treatment.
Aldara is a cream that is used to treat actinic keratosis and
superficial basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas.
It can attack actinic keratoses and basal cell carcinomas by raising
the body’s immune response to the cancer cells. It destroys
these cells and allows for healthy and new skin to grow in its
place. A typical treatment course lasts approximately 6 weeks
or longer. The skin can look very sore and ray during the treatment
but the final result is often quite acceptable.