When a patient needs skin cancer treatment, a dermatologist has two options: surgical and nonsurgical treatment. With nonsurgical treatment, it is important to select the proper patients beforehand. That is, the patients need to be obliging. A nonsurgical treatment that does not allow a dermatologist to examine margins microscopically, which occurs in surgical treatment, requires short-term and long-term follow-ups to catch possible recurrences. In addition, daily at home application is often required for nonsurgical skin treatments. Thus, the patient needs to be diligent in the treatment process, which will take place away from a dermatologist.
In recent research, cure rates of basal cell carcinoma treatment for nonsurgical treatment is around 70%. “Typically, nonsurgical skin cancer treatments are recommended on superficial and early nodular basal cell carcinomas.” When using a nonsurgical treatment, a stepwise approach might be advised. For instance, a patient might be told to start the treatment application every other day, then increase it to five days a week, and finally every day application. It all depends on the patients’ reaction to the treatment, and every patient is different. If a reaction occurs when applying the treatment every other day, the patient should remain at this level. On the other hand, if a patient is not getting a reaction, daily application will be advised. Still, some patients do not respond with daily treatment application. If this is the case, a topical retinoid might be added or an entirely new treatment prescribed. It is important to note that a reaction does not necessarily mean the treatment is working. A follow-up with a dermatologist is essential to confirm the results. Patient compliance is incredibly important with nonsurgical treatment. Some patients attentively use and apply the prescribed treatment regardless of possible effects (redness or crusting for example), while others will stop because of the effects. If you are using a nonsurgical treatment and have questions, ask your dermatologist before stopping the prescribed treatment.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your skin, contact Dr. David Kouba at Toledo Clinic Facial Plastics and Dermatology to set up an appointment today!