Video Production by Josh Melendez

Dr. Anderson goes over the four most common treatments for non-melanoma skin cancers. Get a brief overview and then watch the specific treatment videos to learn more about your options.

Learn about non-melanoma skin cancers:

Squamous Cell Cancer  Basal Cell Cancer

Treatment Videos:

ED&C   Excision  Mohs Procedure

Non-Surgical Option:

SRT (Superficial Radiation Therapy)

Check out our post Learn About Prevention of Skin Cancers for more information on skin cancer prevention.

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Video Transcript:

We’re very fortunate to live in a day and age where there’s lots of different options to treat your non-melanoma skin cancers, but before we get to the topic of how we treat these, I’d really appreciate it if you’d watch the videos on what a non-melanoma skin cancer is, and the two main ones are basal cell cancers and squamous cell cancers.

So please click on the videos that you’re going to see on this page so you can get a better understanding of what you’ve been diagnosed with, and then please go to the different treatment videos that are also going to be found on this page.

Now, you’re going to see a little graph on this page that has four different boxes. Three of those boxes are surgical approaches, and one of those boxes is the non-surgical approach of superficial radiation therapy.

Please understand that we still consider surgical approaches the primary way of treating non-melanoma skin cancers. Superficial radiation therapy is a great modality if a surgical approach is not the optimal approach for you after you talk to your local dermatologist, and you consider what’s right to treat your non-melanoma skin cancer.

Now for the surgical approaches, there’s basically three of them, and we’re going to start from the one that has the least potential of returning, and we’re going to go back to the one that has the most potential of returning or recurring. So kind of the gold standard for your non-melanoma skin cancers if they fall in certain areas is Mohs micrographic surgery.

It tends to be the most expensive option. It also is the option where you’re back and forth in the surgical room. And so you’ll probably be waiting for about three hours during the procedure before we can get clear margins and close you up.

So please click on the box that says Mohs micrographic surgery and a video will play so that you can understand more about that procedure. Now, the next procedure is an excision, and excision is a procedure that has a cure rate somewhere between Mohs and electrodesiccation and curettage, just kind of right in the middle. So it’s a relatively quick procedure and it’s good for certain areas of the body, just like Mohs is preferred in some areas, excision is preferred in others.

So please, click the box that says excision and get acquainted with that procedure to see if it’s right for you.

Now the next on this list of surgical approaches is this ED&C, an electrodesiccation and curettage. Now the cure rate for this is probably the lowest when compared to Mohs or an excision. So has the highest chance of coming back. And all we basically do is scrape and burn the top portion of the skin. So this is a treatment modality that can be considered when the cancer is on the surface of the skin. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to do this procedure in the vast majority of times if the cancer has depth and all we’re treating is the surface. So please click the box on what an ED&C is so that you can become acquainted with that procedure.

Now the last of them is the superficial radiation therapy, and that’s a non-surgical approach, and again surgical approaches are preferred for the vast majority of non-melanoma skin cancers. But radiation does have a great place. So please watch the video so that you can determine if radiation therapy is appropriate for you. Just click the box and it will take you right to it.

Now, the last thing I’m going to say is that you’ve been diagnosed with a non-melanoma skin cancer, which means you have an increased risk of developing more of those in the future. So we really need your help to look yourself over once a month in the mirror and notice if anything is new or changing or growing and if it is, come back and see your local dermatologist as quickly as you can.

You should also be seeing your local dermatologist at least every year for the rest of your life, because fact is if you’re monitoring your body, and we’re monitoring your body, and everybody’s paying attention? These non-melanoma skin cancers will most likely not be any major impact on your life.

And as always, thank you for allowing us to help you become comfortable in your skin.

About the author

Dr. Anderson with Doctors Quarterly Magazine - Cropped
Dr. Reagan Anderson

Dr. Anderson is a Board Certified Dermatologist and Mohs Micrographic Surgeon. He serves as a Clinical Professor of Dermatology and is actively involved in patient and healthcare provider education on dermatology conditions and treatment.

Colorado Dermatology Institute
8580 Scarborough Drive / 1220 Lake Plaza Drive
Colorado Springs, Colorado