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Treatment Options for Skin Cancer: Current and Future Possibilities for Patients

Doctor checking patient's back skinThe American Academy of Dermatology states that one in five Americans will develop a form of skin cancer in their lifetime. There are numerous options for skin cancer treatment, including radiography and surgery.

But researchers continue to work to expand the number of options for patients and make the most of available technology.

Dealing with cancer that starts in the skin

While melanoma may spread to other organs, non-melanoma skin cancers are more common. The latter includes squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. These forms of non-melanoma do not spread to other organs and confined to the human skin.

The most common treatment for non-melanoma conditions is surgery, which involves cutting out the problematic tissue. Sometimes, the doctor must cover the excised wound with skin grafts if the operation requires removal of nearby tissue. This occurs for large tumors.

The skin graft facilitates healing as well. In some cases, it is necessary to remove nearby lymph nodes (lymphadenectomy). For very small skin cancer treatment here in Salem, cryotherapy is an acceptable therapy.

This involves spraying the cells with liquid nitrogen, thereby freezing them and making it easier for the doctor to remove. Other treatment options are photodynamic therapy, chemotherapy, and topical treatments, among others.

Making inroads with helpful bacteria

Today is an exciting time for cancer research. The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) researchers have made a recent breakthrough with common bacteria (Staphylococcus epidermidis) that shows promise in fighting cancers in mice.

A bacterial strain protects mice against skin carcinoma and may even produce substances that inhibit cancerous growth. The chemical produced by these bacteria called 6-N-hydroxyaminopurine (6-HAP for short) is not harmful to healthy skin cells.

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Researchers are looking forward to extending the research to humans.

You can still treat skin cancers successfully with an early and accurate diagnosis. Less invasive treatments are available for small growths. If you think you have symptoms, do not hesitate to consult an oncology specialist as soon as possible.

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