Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells caused by the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. It is one of the many types of cancers New York Cancer & Blood Specialists (NYCBS) treat. NYCBS approaches patient care in the most comprehensive and personalized manner.
Radiation oncologist Dr. Joseph Cirrone discusses the treatment options available to patients with skin cancer. He said, “For young, healthy patients, the best treatment for skin cancer is surgery; generally, Mohs surgery. Surgery has a very low recurrence rate, good cosmetic results, and patients tolerate it very well.”
Basal and squamous cell skin cancer are the two most common forms of skin cancer. They are related to sun exposure from an early age and tend to develop over time. When patients may not tolerate surgery or are too difficult or deforming, radiation therapy is an excellent option.
If close margins or poor prognostic factors present, radiation as an adjuvant may help to minimize postoperative recurrence rates. Radiation to areas of the body that are not amenable to surgery is also an option for older patients. Superficial radiation is when electron beam therapy delivers radiation primarily to the superficial layers of the skin over three to six weeks daily. Patients have excellent control rates with radiation and experience positive cosmetic outcomes. Radiation is tolerated well but may produce redness or irritation to the area treated until it heals.
Adam Korzenko, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist in Port Jefferson, also mentioned,” Melanoma, the third most common type of skin cancer, has a much greater propensity to spread. While it accounts for only about 1% of all skin cancers, melanoma is responsible for most skin cancer deaths.”
A wide local excision surgical procedure can treat melanoma in its early stages. When the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or organs, NYCBS provides treatment options, including radiation, immunotherapy, or checkpoint inhibitors.
“Prevention is vital,” Dr. Cirrone reminds. “Everyone, especially those with a history of skin cancer, should use at least SPF 30 sunscreen, skin coverings, and hats for protection when exposed to the sun.”
To schedule an appointment at New York Cancer & Blood Specialists, please call 1-833-CANCER9.