Surgery is the most commonly used to treat the skin cancer. The aim of this treatment is to remove the tumor mass from the skin directly. The doctor will remove the cancer and some of the healthy skin surrounding it. The amount of healthy skin will depend on how deep the cancer is in the skin and the type of cancer.
There many types of surgery for skin cancer treatment, each applied to the specific type and stage of skin cancer. Below are types of skin cancer surgery:
- Excisional skin surgery is a treatment aimed to remove skin cancer. The surgeon will remove the growth with scalpel, after numbing the area. To make sure, the surgeon will examine a border of skin around the growth, called the margin, under microscope to be certain that all the cancer cells have been removed.
- Mohs surgery or mohs micrographic surgery is used to remove skin cancer by shaves away thin layers of the growth. Each layer is immediately examined under microscope. The surgery process continues to shave away tissue until no cancer cells can be seen under the microscope. This method allows to removes all cancerous cells and only a small bit of healthy tissue.
- Laser surgery uses a narrow beam of laser to destroy cancer cells. This type of surgery is most often used for outer layer skin growth only.
- Cryosurgery uses extreme cold to treat very thin skin cancer or early stage of skin cancer. This surgery is often applied for people who are not able to have other types of surgery. The surgeon applies liquid nitrogen directly to the skin growth to create the extreme cold.
- Electrodesication and curettage are often used to remove small basal cell skin cancer. This type of surgery is usually a simple and fast procedure. The cancer is removed with curette, a sharp spoon shape tool, and then an electric current is applied to the treated area to kill cancer cells and to control bleeding.
- Grafts are sometimes applied to close an opening in skin left by surgery. After the skin numbed, surgeon remove a patch of healthy skin from another part of the body. The patch is then used to cover the area where skin cancer was removed. The skin graft allows the patient to take special care of the area until it heals.