Topic Overview

Most
nonmelanoma skin cancer can be cured if it is found
and treated early. The goal of treatment is to completely remove the cancer.
But the method of removal will differ depending on the experience of your
doctor and the type of cancer you have.

Advantages and disadvantages of common treatments for nonmelanoma skin cancer
Treatment Advantages Disadvantages

Cryosurgery

  • Minimal equipment
    needed
  • Simple to perform
  • Cost-effective
  • No
    restriction of activity after surgery
  • Margin around cancer may not be free of
    cancer
  • Moderately painful
  • Slow
    healing
  • Potential for scarring
  • No skin tissue for
    diagnosis

Curettage and electrosurgery

  • Minimal equipment
    needed
  • Simple to perform
  • Cost-effective
  • No
    restriction of activity after surgery
  • Margin around cancer may not be free of
    cancer
  • Slow healing
  • Potential for scarring

Excision

  • Margin around cancer more likely to be
    free of cancer
  • Tissue available for diagnosis
  • More rapid healing
  • Good cosmetic
    results
  • Healthy skin tissue around cancer
    (margin) must be removed
  • Activity restriction after surgery if
    skin graft or flap is needed

Mohs micrographic surgery

  • Best chance of margins free of cancer
  • Healthy skin tissue is preserved
  • Tissue available for diagnosis
  • Highest cure
    rates
  • Good cosmetic results
  • Specialized training and facilities
    needed
  • Increased cost
  • Takes more time to make
    sure margins are free of cancer
  • Activity restriction after surgery if
    skin graft or flap is needed

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Amy McMichael, MD – Dermatology

Current as ofMay 3, 2017