Getting rid of the cancer

When someone is diagnosed with skin cancer, they’ll usually be presented with a wide range of treatment options in order to fight the disease. The most popular avenue for skin cancer treatment is surgery. Surgery treatments include everything from tissue being taken out to having liquid nitrogen poured over your body. They range from low risk to very delicate procedures.

It’s a great idea to have some knowledge though on what lies on that range of treatment. Here are a few of the options for surgery a person might have after being diagnosed with some form of skin cancer.

Excision Biopsy

This is a slightly odd form of treatment as it involves someone being diagnosed and treated for skin at the same time. It involves having the area where your skin cancer is removed, along with what doctors judge to be a border of healthy tissue. This is important because when it’s removed it is checked for a thorough diagnosis. Now this doesn’t happen all at once. It can take a few days or week for the sample of tissue removed to be fully analysed. What they’re looking for in the lab is proof that the border they removed is free of any type of cancer cells, thereby certifying that cancer has been removed. If that isn’t the case, then another biopsy will have to take place in the area that margin came from.

Wide local excision

If someone were to have the biopsy and it was seen that part of the ‘healthy margin’ did indeed have some cancer still removed, that person would more than likely face a wide local excision. It is much the same as the treatment listed previously, only a person might have either less tissue taken away this time or a lot more. In the case of the latter, to avoid the supporting tissue from having problems adjusting a skin graft might need to take place but it is very rare for this to be done.


This is the treatment that involves liquid nitrogen. It usually only happens for patients who have skin cancer on their legs or arms as it is dangerous to get it near an open spot like your eyes or mouth. What happens is that the nitrogen is sprayed on to the cancerous area, effectively freezing the tissue. If the skin cancer is located on the upper layers of skin, it won’t be able to have any reaction to this spray other than stop trying to spread. The cold will cause your skin to form a scab which renders it useless for a temporary period. As the scab grows, the cancer should die. When the scab finally begins the process of coming off, the cancerous cells should come off with it too.

MMS (Mohs micrography surgery)

This treatment is all about having a level of control over the cancer someone is attemping to remove. It’s a surgery just like excision biopsy only it can take quite a lot longer for the procedure to be done. A person would get this procedure if they have skin cancer in a delicate area like the eye where a surgeon would want to cause as little harm as possible. The surgery involves having pieces of tissue removed bit by bit slowly. Once a small piece is removed is it looked at under a microscope. Depending on the shape, size and direction the cancer cells seem to be moving in, more tissue is cut out and examined too. This process continues until tissue under the microscope appears to be completely healthy.

Now these are just the main treatment options under label of surgery. There are also many more types of treatment out there like chemotherapy and radiotherapy that can get rid of skin cancer too. This was just a more detailed look in to what surgery can do.