The diagnosis of skin cancer can be very serious. There are several options these days for treating skin cancers. It depends on the type of skin cancer, of course; but traditionally, though, surgery has been the mainstay of treatment of skin cancer. Mohs surgery gives us our highest cure rate of 97 to 99% depending on the tumor type and location, and that is performed mostly on the face for facial skin cancers. It works by doing frozen sections so that we can see 100% of the borders of the skin cancer and get the highest cure rate.

There's a new nonsurgical treatment for skin cancer. The nonsurgical treatment has a lot of advantages and a very similar cure rate, although Mohs is still the main treatment for skin cancer. Superficial radiotherapy is a treatment that can be done for any location. So, for locations on the face, nose, eyelids, ears, lips, scalp, neck, all these places can be treated with superficial radiotherapy. It has the advantage of no downtime so there's no bandages necessary with this treatment. It ranges between 12 to 15 treatments. Treatments are under a minute. Treatments do not hurt and there's minimal redness afterwards. Towards the end of treatment, you can get a little red and scaly, and that's usually as the tumor is being sloughed off.

The reason that this has become available recently is because of modern fractionation schemes. Meaning, taking time over time to treat these tumors, we're able to preserve normal tissue so there's minimal scarring with SRT procedure for skin cancer. When we fractionate out longer, the lysosomes and mitochondria are able to help the normal cells regrow in that area so that, so that there's minimal damage to the normal cells and the cancer cells are sloughed off. And so, that's what's different compared to radiotherapy or radiation from years ago. With a 95% cure rate, it's a not as good as Mohs but it's a great alternative for people who are unable to undergo surgery for whatever particular reason.

Skin Cancer Treatment Options

Dr. Robert Beer discusses skin cancer treatment options.