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How Is Skin Cancer Treated?

How Is Skin Cancer Treated?

According to the CDC, 鈥渟kin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.鈥 There are different kinds of skin cancer, and their treatment methods vary. But, what is the best treatment for skin cancer? What do melanoma treatment options look like? And, what should you expect from Mohs surgery recovery? Let鈥檚 dive in and answer all of your skin cancer questions.

The Types of Skin Cancer & Their Treatment

If you鈥檙e wondering 鈥what is the best treatment for skin cancer,鈥 the answer will depend on these factors: the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer, and your overall health. Let鈥檚 take a look at the different types of skin cancer and what a typical treatment plan will look like.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

What To Look For: Pearly or pink, smooth bump
Typical Treatment: Surgery

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This is the most common type of skin cancer. It usually starts as a small, red bump that grows slowly and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Since this cancer rarely spreads, the most common treatment for BCC is surgery. If the cancer is on the face, the surgeon may use a special technique called Mohs surgery to minimize scarring. If your doctor chooses this method, you may want to read up on Mohs surgery recovery and prepare by purchasing some silicone products (like our scar heal kit).

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

What To Look For: Red nodules, open sores, or red patches
Typical Treatment: Surgery

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This is the second most common type of skin cancer. It generally starts as a flat, red patch, grows slowly, and also rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a common type of skin cancer that can be treated effectively if it is caught early. The most common treatment for SCC is a simple surgical removal (since it doesn鈥檛 normally spread), which can eliminate the cancer and some of the surrounding healthy tissue.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

What To Look For: Flesh-colored, smooth, painless lump
Typical Treatment: Surgery, radiation, & chemotherapy

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Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare but aggressive form of skin cancer that can spread quickly to other parts of the body. The most common treatment for MCC is surgery. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, surgery may be used to remove the lymph nodes as well. Since this cancer spreads rapidly, you鈥檒l also be looking at radiation therapy or chemotherapy to manage the cells that have traveled to the rest of your body.

Melanoma

What To Look For: Dark-colored, irregular-shaped, itchy, low-profile lump
Typical Treatment: Surgery, radiation, & chemotherapy

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This is the most serious type of skin cancer. It can grow quickly and spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. Just like with merkel cell carcinoma, the fact that this cancer spreads quickly means that your options will most likely include some more aggressive treatment methods.


Skin cancer can become a serious disease, but it is also one of the most preventable. By wearing daily sunscreen, taking steps to protect your skin from the sun and other sources of UV radiation, as well as performing regular at-home skin checks, you can reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. If you do develop skin cancer, early detection and treatment can save your life. Don鈥檛 hesitate to get in touch with your doctor if you have a concerning spot or lump.