Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Treatment
Most treatments for basal and squamous cell cancers include removing the growth during an office visit. Very few patients will need any additional treatments.
At Kaiser Permanente medical offices, we keep up with the rapid changes in skin cancer treatment, including topical treatments and surgical procedures. We consistently review the latest research findings to make sure our treatments are the most effective.
In most nonmelanoma skin cancers, simple surgery removes the cancerous growth, along with a small amount of surrounding normal tissue. This surgery is done during an office visit with a local anesthetic (numbing medicine around the area of the growth). After the procedure, you may have some swelling or bruising as the area heals.
In Mohs microscopic surgery, the doctor removes the growth and surrounding tissue layer by layer, and examines it under a microscope during the procedure. The Mohs surgeon can tell when the cancer has been removed and healthy, cancer-free tissue is left.
Mohs surgery is used most often on the face, particularly around the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. This type of surgery may be needed in areas where the skin is thin and there is little tissue (ears and nose).
Kaiser Permanente’s Dermatology Department has been doing Mohs surgery since 1992.
Deeper and more advanced cancers may need more extensive surgery. Very rarely, these cancers might also need additional treatment such as radiation therapy.
Contacting Your Care Team at Group Health
As you discuss your treatment and possible side effects with your care team, also talk about what signs and symptoms require medical attention right away. When you experience those symptoms, you should call your care team for help or advice. After clinic hours, you should call our Consulting Nurse Service for help, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Taking Care of Yourself
It might seem like your life is revolving around cancer treatment during this time. But it’s important to take care of your other physical needs and your emotional needs as well.