Treatment

There are a range of treatments which will be tailored to treat your skin cancer. If you have a confirmed diagnosis the treatment given depends upon a patients individual circumstances and the nature of their cancer. The doctor will discuss this with the patient in detail.

Basal cell carcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma (non melanoma skin cancer)

Most non melanoma skin cancers are treated by surgery. This involves removing (excising) the skin cancer including a margin of normal skin around it. This technique is usually done under local anaesthetic. The wound can normally be closed with stitches but sometimes in larger and more complex skin cancers a graft or skin flap is required.

In some cases Mohs' micrographic surgery may be necessary. This is a very specialised type of surgery also known as margin control excision performed under local anaesthetic. It is particularly useful for basal cell cancers which do not have a clear edge, are at difficult sites on the face or when the basal cell cancer has come back again. This technique aims to make sure that all the tumour is removed while preserving as much normal skin as is possible.

For more information on treatment of non melanoma skin cancer including surgery follow the links below.

Surgery
Mohs' Micrographic Surgery
Photodynamic Therapy
Radiotherapy
Topical chemotherapy
Topical immunotherapy

Melanoma

The main treatment for melanoma is surgery. After biopsy when the diagnosis has been confirmed a second surgery or wide local excision is usually required. This is to make sure that all the melanoma has been removed. If a large area is removed a skin graft may be required. If the melanoma has spread to the lymph nodes then surgery to remove the affected lymph glands may be needed.

Before a patient undergoes any type of treatment, they will have their treatment plan explained and usually will asked to give written consent. This is an important process to ensure that the patient fully understands the nature of their treatment. For more information on consent, please follow this link.
 
Occasionally other treatments are used after surgery if there is high risk that the melanoma may come back. These are known as adjuvant treatments and are usually given as part of a clinical trial.

If a melanoma comes back after treatment and spreads to other organs then other treatments may be used either alone or in combination to try to shrink the tumour and control symptoms. For more information on the treatment of advanced melanoma click here.