Dr Jeremy Banky, Specialist Dermatologist, Melbourne

Non-Surgical Treatments for Skin Cancers

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There are a number of non-surgical treatments that may be suitable for your skin cancer or sun spot.

These include some of the following options which can be discussed in further detail with Dr Banky at your consultation.

Cryosurgery

CryosurgeryCryosurgery is a treatment in which skin lesions are frozen using liquid nitrogen.

Cryosurgery is used for removing warts, seborrhoeic keratoses and other benign lesions. It is also used for actinic keratoses and small skin cancers such as basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas not amenable for surgery.

Cryosurgery may result in a white mark or scar, particularly if a deep freeze is required (e.g. a cancerous lesion). In addition, if a hairy area is treated, it may result in permanent hair loss.

The treatment may prove unsuccessful in some cases, thus requiring further cryosurgery or other non-surgical and/or surgical treatment.

 

 

 

Photodynamic Surgery (PDT)

PDT involves the application of a light sensitive chemical to the skin, followed some time later by illumination with a specialised light of a particular colour and intensity. This results in selective destruction of the intended target - the precancerousand/or cancer cells, which are known to actively concentrate the chemical in greater quantities than normal skin cells. The combination of the chemical and the light is essential, as either alone has no significant clinical effect.

The main use of PDT is for treatment of actinic keratoses and selected non-melanoma skin cancers such as superficial basal cell carcinoma and Bowen's disease.  PDT is usually reserved for the more superficial types of skin cancer, but not all skin cancers can be successfully treated with PDT. The cure rate with PDT is not as high as with surgery, so recurrence of the skin cancer needs to be closely watched for. Dr Banky will determine whether PDT is suitable for your actinic keratoses or skin cancer.

 

Topical Chemotherapeutic Agents

Actinic keratoses, superficial basal cell carcinomas and Bowen’s disease can sometimes be treated using topical creams including 5-Fluorouracil (Efudix), Imiquimod 5% (Aldara) and Diclofenac sodium-3% (Solaraze).

These creams are preferentially taken up by the precancerous or cancerous cells which are then destroyed. Not all creams are suitable for all patients, and Dr Banky will determine which cream may be suitable for you.

 
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