Skin cancer is diagnosed by removing all or part of the growth and then examining its cells under a microscope. It can be treated by a number of methods, depending on the type of cancer, its stage of growth, and its location on your body.
Small skin cancers can often be excised quickly and easily in Dr. Lesavoy’s office.
Most skin cancers are removed surgically, by either a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist. If the cancer is small, the procedure can be done quickly and easily, in an outpatient facility or Dr. Lesavoy’s office, using local anesthesia. The procedure may be a simple excision, which generally leaves a thin, barely visible scar, or curettage and desiccation may be performed. This is a procedure in which the cancer is scraped out with an electric current to control bleeding and kill any remaining cancer cells. This procedure leaves a slightly larger, white scar. In either case, the risks of the surgery are low.
Simple excision generally leaves a thin barely visible scar.
If the cancer is large or if it has spread to the lymph glands or somewhere else in the body, major surgery may be required. Several possible treatments for skin cancer include cryosurgery, which is freezing the cancer cells, radiation therapy, which uses x-rays, topical chemotherapy, in which anti-cancer drugs are applied to the skin, and Mohs surgery, a special procedure in which the cancer is shaved off one layer at a time. (Mohs surgery is performed only by specially trained physicians and often requires a reconstructive procedure as follow-up.) Ask Dr. Lesavoy about your options.