Synopsis: Today Skin cancer and Melanoma can be treated by a number of means provided the cancer is caught early.
It is hard to deal with the emotions that flood our minds - but we must remember to stay calm and to have a clear mind so that we can learn what to do to take care of it.
Below therefore is a brief description of just some of the treatments which may be used when treating skin cancer.
The specific type of treatment you will receive is going to depend upon several different things which include such things as your age and whether or not your cancer has spread to other parts of your body.
Melanoma Surgery Treatments
When doctors discover melanoma in their patients the first thing they do is remove the tumor and the tissue surrounding it that could be infected by the cancer cells. By removing the tumor quickly they could prevent the cells from spreading to other parts of the body.
Your treatment may include surgery during which your surgeon may decide to remove the cancer itself together with some of the surrounding skin tissue. Just how much normal skin will be removed will be dependent upon the particular type of cancer found and how deep that cancer is. Usually an area of roughly one or two centimeters of skin from the surrounding area is removed.
A more extensive type of surgery might be needed if a sentinel lymph node shows cancer cells after a biopsy of a suspect area. This type of surgery is designed to remove lymph nodes close to the cancer along with affected skin and is usually followed up with a course of radiotherapy.
This procedure is used to remove the tumor and the infected tissue around it. The bigger the tumor is the more tissue that will be removed. Doctors will take the tissue they have removed and will send it to the lab to be examined under the microscope to see if it contains any cancer cells.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery
This surgery is used in place of excisional surgery. During this procedure the surgeon will remove the tumor that is visible as well as a thin layer of tissue around it. This treatment is unusual because the tissue that is removed is being examined while the patient is still in surgery.
Lymph Node Dissection
This is a surgical treatment that is used by doctors not to remove the tumor - but to remove most or all of the lymph nodes in the general area and examining them to find cancer cells. A lymph node is a large amount of lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by connective tissue.
Lymph nodes will filter foreign particles and bacteria like cancer cells. If the cells have spread doctors might have the ability to find it in the lymph nodes closest to it and remove it before it can spread. A biopsy will help to determine if the melanoma has spread to the lymph nodes.
The surgeon will continue to remove tissue and examine it until they do not find any cancer cells. It takes close to an hour to remove and examine each layer of tissue.
As well as conventional surgery, some skin cancers can be removed by freezing using liquid nitrogen or removed with drugs like Imiquimod.
There are times when melanoma is found within a single toe or finger. When this happens the best way to remove the cancer cells before they spread is to remove the infected to or finger.
Immunotherapy Cancer Vaccination
A recent development in the treatment of skin cancer is what is referred to as immunotherapy cancer vaccination although research into this form of treatment is still under way and it is as yet not widely available. Chemotherapy may also be ordered if your skin cancer has spread into other areas.
There are many different skin cancer treatments that can be used.
How big the tumor and what stage the cancer is in will determine which treatment will be more effective in removing the cancer and the tumor.
There is no definitive form of prevention for skin cancer but there are a variety of things which you can do to reduce your risk of developing the disease and the most important yet frequently ignored is to keep your skin covered if you are out in the sun.
Every one of us, regardless of the type or color of skin you have should use a sunscreen which has a protection factor of at least 15. You should also wear sufficient clothing and remain in the shade as much as you can, particularly between 11am and 3pm when the sun's rays are at their strongest. By the same token, it is always advisable not to use sun beds and sunlamps as these too give off harmful ultra violet rays.