According to recent research, two out of every three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. While this statistic is indeed frightening, wait for the good news! If detected early, 95% of all skin cancer cases can be treated. So how do we treat skin cancer at an early stage? Read on to know more.
First, you can check whether you have skin cancer on your own. Yes, you can self-diagnose but, if you have already seen the symptoms listed in the article, you should consult a doctor to confirm your findings. Check your skin regularly. Observe all the exposure as well as covered areas of your skin regularly. If you see any change in color, shape or texture of your skin, please go to a doctor immediately. While in most cases, it may just be a harmless hormonal swing, sometimes it could also be a sign of skin cancer.
After checking your skin, your doctor may cut off a small part of the doubted area, in a process known as a Biopsy. The sample tissues are then sent to a lab for further examination. This test would be conducted by a dermatologist or at a diagnostic lab. It would take nearly a week to see your results.
Your skin cancer can be treated by one of the following doctors:
1. Radiation oncologists- cancer experts who use radiation.
2. Dermatologists- experts in skin problems.
3. Surgeons- doctors who operate
If you are indeed developing skin cancer, then your doctor would prescribe one of the following treatments:
5. Targeted therapy
Based on the condition of your skin, your doctor would decide which kind of treatment you would need. The patient’s age also plays a crucial role while deciding their respective treatment method. You would be happy to note that most of the skin cancer cases in Australia are benign. This means these cases do not cause death. As such, over the years, doctors here have developed many non-surgical procedures to treat skin cancer at an early stage. These are:
Here, liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the affected skin part and this procedure doesn’t take more than 3-5 seconds. Cryotherapy removes nearly 70% of the affected region and is used more often to treat trunk and limbs. This line of treatment is not used in skin cancer affecting the face.
2. Fluorouracil cream
Skin cancers of an early stage can also be treated by this cream. Doctors recommend this medication for skin cancers on the head and scalp. In several cases, the patient may experience inflammation of the affected area after the application of the cream. This swelling can be managed by cold compresses or steroid creams having mild potency. This inflammation goes away after 1-2 weeks.
Generally, it is agreed that more the inflammation, more is the efficacy of the treatment. Fluorouracil cream is also used to treat Bowen’s disease. In this case, the cream is applied on the affected area for 4-6 weeks, twice a day. Most professional doctors like Sundoctors agree that this treatment has good cosmetic results.
3. Imiquimod Cream
This cream is being used to treat early-stage skin cancer for more than 15 years now. Earlier, it was mostly used to treat genital warts, but now we know that this cream works in some other ways. Imiquimod cream (5%) boosts immunity and clears away cancerous cells by causing inflammation in the affected region. Doctors recommend its application for 16 weeks, thrice a week. Even though it causes mild inflammation, the administration of this cream can be modified to mitigate discomfort.
Please consult your doctor before applying these creams.