Treatment of skin cancer

Initial treatment of skin cancers has a very high success rate (more than 90%). Methods commonly used to treat skin cancer and pre-cancers include cryosurgery, surgical excision, electrodessication and curettage (ED&C), radiation therapy, and Mohs Micrographic surgery.


One of the most common treatments for benign, pre-malignant, and some malignant tumors, this method of treatment destroys diseased skin cells by freezing them with liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen is applied to the lesion using an aerosol spray. This procedure may be repeated to guarantee total destruction of malignant cells.

Surgical Excision

In an excision, the skin cancer is cut out and removed under local anesthesia and seldom entails major blood loss. When a skin cancer is removed in this fashion, a small amount of normal skin along the edges also is removed to ensure that the margins are free of any cancerous cells.

Electrodessication and Curettage (ED&C)

In an ED&C, the skin cancer is curetted or “scraped away” with a special tool designed to remove cancerous cells. The area then is cauterized (“electrodessicated”) using electric cautery. This process then is repeated until all cancerous cells are removed. Like surgical excision, this is performed under local anesthesia. However, unlike excision, sutures are not needed.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery