If you've recently been informed you have a form of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, you're likely concerned about your prognosis and eager to have all cancerous growths excised from your body as quickly as possible. However, with the variety of treatment and removal methods available, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available to you. What are the most effective treatment options for this type of cancer, and what type of outcomes can you expect? Read on to learn more about the best options for you.
If your carcinoma was caught at a very early stage, you may be able to have it quickly and inexpensively removed through the application of liquid nitrogen. This nitrogen immediately freezes the squamous cells, causing them to shrivel up and fall off. After the area has healed for a few weeks, you should be cancer-free with minimal scarring of the application area. Despite its popularity for small or mild cases, cryosurgery is not generally the most effective type of removal for deep-set carcinomas or those on the face or other immediately visible areas of the body.
For those who want reassurance that this carcinoma hasn't -- and won't -- spread to other parts of the body, Mohs surgery is the best way to achieve this peace of mind. During this procedure, you'll be placed under general anesthesia while a surgeon removes the carcinoma and a thin surrounding layer of skin. This skin is then immediately sent to the lab and tested for the presence of additional cancer cells. If any cancer cells are observed in the skin surrounding the tumor, additional layers of skin are removed until the last layer tests negative for cancer. This allows you to rest assured that all the cancer cells surrounding your squamous tumor have been eradicated, and because the skin is removed so delicately, you'll have minimal scarring.
Another effective way to remove these cells without scarring the delicate skin on your hands, face, or neck is to use the power of light through photodynamic therapy. You'll be conscious during this procedure, although you may request some mild sedation if you're nervous. A chemical solution will be applied to each of the carcinomas you're having removed, where the squamous cells will soak it up like sponges. An ultraviolet light is then used to trigger a chemical reaction that will destroy the cancer cells from the inside out, all without harming the rest of your skin. There are few side effects to this procedure, although you'll likely notice some redness and swelling at the carcinoma sites for a few days.
Contact a local dermatologist, like TrueSkin Dermatology & Surgery, Inc., for more information on your options.