Non-Surgical Treatment Options For Basal Cell Carcinoma
Skin cancer is often curable when diagnosed in its early stages. One of the most curable forms of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma. It rarely spreads beyond the original tumor site, and even when it does, it often spreads locally instead of metastisizing systemically. While surgery may be recommended to treat basal cell carcinoma, the following non-surgical treatment options can also be considered.
Radiation treatments are generally recommended after skin cancer surgery, especially if the dermatology professional determines that the skin cancer may come back. Radiation therapy is also a viable option when surgical intervention is not an option or if the patient does not want surgery.
Radiation treatments utilize special x-ray beams to destroy skin cancer cells in the same way it kills malignant cells in other types of cancers such as lung cancer. While radiation therapy usually does not cause systemic side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and hair loss in the way that chemotherapy does, it can cause mild local reactions, including skin redness, itching, inflammation, and irritation.
Effective topical treatment for basal cell carcinoma includes a generic cream known as fluorouracil. It is effective in treating certain types of skin cancer and skin conditions such as actinic keratosis. Fluorouracil is most effective in treating basal cell carcinomas that are very localized and superficial.
Fluorouracil destroys abnormal cells and it is usually well-tolerated even by people with sensitive skin. While fluorouracil is highly effective in treating superficial types of basal cell carcinoma, it can take up to a few months of treatment before the basal cell carcinoma is completely gone.
The topical cream is usually applied to the affected area a couple of times a day, however, your dermatology professional may recommend fewer or more applications. Using fluorouracil can make you more sensitive to the effects of sunlight. This phenomenon is known as photosensitivity, so when using this medication, avoid excessive sunlight exposure as much as you can.
If you must be out in the sun, protect your skin by wearing long-sleeved clothing, wearing sunglasses, and wearing a hat. Applying sunblock to your skin will also help you avoid the effects of photosensitivity which may include itching, skin irritation, and hives.
If you develop any new or unusual skin lesions or if a mole changes in size, color, or shape, make an appointment with your dermatologist. When skin cancer is treated while in its early stages, a complete cure may be more likely.
Speak to a dermatologist to learn more about skin cancer.