A combination of treatment may be used if the skin cancer has spread to other parts of the body, according to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Dermatology Unit.
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Dr Koh Hong Yi, Consultant,
Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the
SingHealth group shares on treatment for skin cancer.
Skin cancer treatment
Treatment will vary depending on the type and extent of the skin cancer. Treatment options include:
|Type of treatment||What it does|
|Excision surgery||This is the most common treatment for skin cancer. A skin graft may be required after a wide excision of skin.|
|Curettage and electrocautery||The tumour is scraped off the healthy skin and the area is heated to destroy remaining cancer cells.|
|Cryotherapy||The cancer cells are frozen off with liquid nitrogen.|
|Lasers||An intense beam of light is used to destroy the cancerous growth with little damage to surrounding skin.|
|Radiation ||This is used in areas difficult to treat with surgery.|
|Topical chemotherapy||A cream or liquid is applied directly to the tumour to kill the cancer cells.|
|Topical immunotherapy||Creams are applied directly on the affected area of the skin to stimulate the immune system to attack the cancer cells|
|Photodynamic therapy||This is a new form of treatment that combines oxygen, light energy and a photosensitizer to generate oxygen radicals that eliminate cancer cells.|
|Moh’s micrographic surgery||The cancerous tissue is excised, mapped and examined under the microscope until a clear margin is obtained.|
If the skin cancer spreads to other parts of the body, a combination of excision surgery, radiation and chemotherapy or immunotherapy may be used to treat it.
“Early detection and timely treatment of skin cancer can cure most non-melanoma skin cancers. However, the prognosis for thick melanoma with widespread metastasis is grave,” says
Dr Koh Hong Yi, Consultant at SGH
How to recognise a melanoma
This ABCDE rule can help you distinguish a melanoma growth from a benign mole. According to this rule, the five signs of melanoma are:
A = Asymmetry – the growth is uneven in shape
B = Border – the border or edges are irregular
C = Colour – haphazard combination of many colours
D = Diameter – over 6 mm
E = Evolving – enlarging/changing shape of a pigmented growth
All skin cancer patients require regular follow-up after treatment to check for recurrence or spread of the cancer to other parts of the body.
“It is important to seek medical advice if you notice any suspicious-looking growth or a change in an existing growth on your skin,” says Dr Koh.