Skin Cancer Treatment

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Treatment for skin cancer and the precancerous skin lesions known as actinic keratoses varies, depending on the size, type, depth and location of the lesions. Often the abnormal cells are surgically removed or destroyed with topical medications. Most skin cancer treatments require only a local anesthetic and can be done in an outpatient setting. Sometimes no treatment is necessary beyond an initial biopsy that removes the entire growth. Your doctor may destroy actinic keratoses and some small, early skin cancers by freezing them with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery).  Your physician may also perform curettage and electrodesiccation. After removing most of a growth, your doctor scrapes away layers of cancer cells using a circular blade (curette). An electric needle destroys any remaining cancer cells. This simple, quick procedure is common in treating small or thin basal cell cancers. It leaves a small, flat, white scar.