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Topical Therapy

Topical Chemotherapy For Skin Cancer

Chemotherapy involves using drugs to eliminate cancer cells, and when applied directly to the skin, it’s termed topical chemotherapy. This method administers anti-cancer medications, usually in the form of a cream or ointment, directly to the skin rather than through oral ingestion or intravenous injection.

One commonly used drug for topical treatment is 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), found in products like Efudex, Carac, and Fluoroplex. Typically, it’s applied to the skin once or twice daily over several weeks. While 5-FU effectively targets tumor cells on or near the skin’s surface, it may not reach deeper skin cancers or those that have spread to other organs. Therefore, it’s mainly used for pre-cancerous conditions like actinic keratosis and superficial skin cancers.

Since 5-FU is applied locally, it doesn’t circulate throughout the body, resulting in fewer systemic side effects compared to traditional chemotherapy. However, it can cause redness and heightened sensitivity in the treated skin for a few weeks. Additional topical medicines may be used to alleviate these effects if necessary. Moreover, 5-FU can increase skin sensitivity to sunlight, requiring protected sun exposure for several weeks after using the cream to prevent sunburn.


Are There Side Effects?

While topical chemotherapy has fewer systemic side effects compared to traditional chemotherapy, it can cause redness and heightened skin sensitivity. Your dermatologist may recommend additional topical medicines to manage these effects.

FAQ About Topical Therapy For Skin Cancer

Is topical chemotherapy suitable for all types of skin cancer?

It is often used for pre-cancerous conditions and certain superficial skin cancers. Your dermatologist will determine the appropriateness based on the type and stage of skin cancer.

Does topical chemotherapy have the same side effects as systemic chemotherapy?

No, because the medication is applied locally, it generally does not cause the same systemic side effects as chemotherapy that affects the entire body.

Are there precautions to take during and after topical chemotherapy for skin cancer?

It’s important to protect treated areas from sunlight, as topical chemotherapy can increase skin sensitivity. Your dermatologist will provide guidelines to prevent sunburn and promote optimal healing during and after treatment.

Is there a dermatologist near me in Austin that offers treatment for [TREATMENT]?

Yes. At our Austin dermatology office we offer Topical Therapy for Skin Cancer treatment to patients from Austin and the surrounding area. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.


What is cryosurgery?

The dermatologist uses super cold liquid nitrogen to remove skin growths, fade age spots, and treat early-stage skin cancers. Dermatologist will apply the frozen nitrogen with a cotton swab or a spray. The idea is to quickly freeze the skin and then let it thaw slowly to destroy targeted skin cells. Sometimes, more than one treatment is needed.


What can I expect after Cryosurgery?

After the procedure, you can anticipate redness, swelling, and the development of a blister at the treated area. To manage any discomfort, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers. You’ll be instructed to wash the site every day as fluid oozes from the wound, typically for five to 14 days until a dry crust forms. The crust will eventually come off on its own. For procedures on the head and neck, healing usually takes two to six weeks, while it might take longer for other parts of the body.

FAQ About Cryosurgery

Is cryosurgery suitable for all types of skin cancer?

Cryosurgery is often effective for treating early-stage basal and squamous cell carcinomas, as well as non-cancerous skin growths.
Does cryosurgery for skin cancer hurt?

Does cryosurgery for skin cancer hurt?

The procedure is generally well-tolerated. While there might be some discomfort, local anesthesia is often used to minimize pain during cryosurgery.

What can I expect during the recovery period after cryosurgery for skin cancer?

Post-cryosurgery, you can expect redness, swelling, and the formation of a blister. Daily washing of the site is recommended until a dry crust forms, usually within five to 14 days.

Are there any side effects or risks associated with cryosurgery for skin cancer treatment?

While rare, potential side effects include scarring, changes in skin pigmentation, and infection. Your dermatologist will discuss these risks with you before the procedure.

How many cryosurgery sessions are typically needed for skin cancer treatment?

The number of sessions depends on the type and extent of skin cancer. Your dermatologist will determine the treatment plan based on your specific case.

How long does it take to see results after cryosurgery for skin cancer?

The healing time varies, but you may notice changes, such as the formation of a crust, within a few days to weeks. Complete healing and resolution of any side effects may take several weeks. Your dermatologist will provide guidance on the expected timeline based on your specific case.

Is there a dermatologist near me in Austin that offers treatment for [TREATMENT]?

Yes. At our Austin dermatology office we offers treatment for [TREATMENT] to patients from Austin and the surrounding area. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.


What is Electrosurgery?

Electrosurgery is a dermatological procedure that uses different forms of electrical currents to eliminate skin tissue, effectively addressing both benign and malignant lesions, managing bleeding, and excising skin tissue.

Throughout this process, the electric current works to dehydrate, damage, and vaporize affected skin tissue. This not only hinders the spread of malignant skin conditions but also promotes the regeneration of new skin cells.

Electrosurgery is used to treat patients with basal cell carcinoma and other eligible skin conditions. Additionally, it may be utilized post-curettage, a method involving the scraping of skin with a spoon-shaped instrument (curette) to eliminate skin tissue. In such cases, electrosurgery plays a crucial role in managing bleeding and eradicating any remaining cancer cells.


How does electrosurgery work?

Electrosurgery proves versatile in eliminating abnormal skin growths and controlling bleeding during surgical procedures. In the course of an electrosurgical intervention, the skin is subjected to a high-frequency, alternating electric current with voltages ranging from 200 to 10,000 volts, delivered through one or more electrodes. This electric energy transforms into thermal energy, inducing tissue heating and the breakdown of the designated skin tissue.

Modern electrosurgical devices of high frequency efficiently transfer electrical energy to human tissue via a treatment electrode that remains cool. In contemporary settings, these devices operate at frequencies slightly below the AM radio frequency band. The inherent electrical resistance of biological tissue facilitates the conversion of electrical energy into molecular energy, altering the molecular structure of intracellular and extracellular proteins. This, in turn, leads to the coagulation and drying up of the targeted tissue. Elevating intracellular temperatures results in instantaneous cell death, offering the potential for the removal of cancerous cells.

FAQ About Electrosurgery

Is electrosurgery painful during skin cancer treatment?

Electrosurgery is typically performed under local anesthesia, ensuring minimal discomfort during the procedure. Patients may experience some mild sensations, but pain is generally well-managed.

Can electrosurgery effectively treat various types of skin cancer?

Yes, electrosurgery is versatile and can be used to treat different types of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma. It is often employed after procedures like curettage to control bleeding and eliminate remaining cancer cells.

Are there any side effects or risks associated with electrosurgery for skin cancer treatment?

Like any medical procedure, electrosurgery carries some risks, including scarring and changes in skin pigmentation. However, these risks are generally low, and your dermatologist will discuss them with you before the procedure.

How long does it take to recover from electrosurgery for skin cancer treatment?

Recovery time varies, but many patients can resume normal activities shortly after the procedure. Your dermatologist will provide specific post-operative care instructions to optimize healing.

Is electrosurgery a one-time treatment for skin cancer?

The number of electrosurgery sessions depends on the extent of the skin cancer and the treatment plan determined by your dermatologist. Some cases may require multiple sessions for optimal results.

Can electrosurgery be combined with other skin cancer treatments?

Yes, electrosurgery can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan that may include surgery, radiation, or other therapies. Your dermatologist will customize a plan based on the specifics of your case.

Is there a dermatologist near me in Austin that offers electrosurgery?

Yes. At our Austin dermatology office we offer Electrosurgery to patients from Austin and the surrounding area. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery

What is Mohs Micrographic Surgery?

Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a specialized surgical technique employed in the treatment of skin cancer. The procedure involves sequentially removing and examining thin layers of skin until no cancerous cells are detected. The primary objective of Mohs surgery is to completely eradicate skin cancer while minimizing damage to the surrounding healthy skin. This approach ensures that the dermatologist can confirm the total removal of cancer, thereby increasing the likelihood of complete recovery and minimizing the need for additional treatments or surgeries.


What are the benefits of Mohs Micrographic Surgery?

The benefits of Mohs Micrographic surgery are numerous and contribute to its reputation as a highly effective treatment for skin cancer. The primary advantage of Mohs surgery is the thorough microscopic examination of the tissue, which enables the complete removal of cancer cells and results in high cure rates. This meticulous approach ensures that all cancerous cells are eradicated while preserving as much of the surrounding healthy skin as possible.

Other significant benefits of Mohs surgery include:

  • Single Outpatient Visit: The procedure is typically completed in a single outpatient visit, making it a convenient option for patients.
  • Local Anesthesia: Local anesthesia is used to numb the treated area, resulting in a quicker recovery than procedures requiring general anesthesia or sedation.

What is the Process of Mohs Micrographic Surgery?

Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a meticulous and highly effective process performed in stages, all during one visit.

Here are the steps involved during the surgery:

  • Examination and Preparation: The dermatologist examines the patient, marks the biopsy spot, and positions the patient for optimal access. Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area.
  • Top Layer Removal: A thin layer of visible cancerous tissue is removed with a scalpel, and the wound is temporarily bandaged.
  • Lab Analysis: The removed tissue is divided, color-coded, and mapped by the dermatologist, then frozen, sliced, stained, and placed on microscope slides.
  • Microscopic Examination: The dermatologist examines the slides for cancer cells. If found, their location is marked on the map.
  • Second Layer Removal: If cancer cells are detected, another layer of skin is removed precisely where the cancer cells remain, based on the map.
  • Wound Repair: Once no cancer cells are detected, the wound is either left to heal naturally or closed with stitches, depending on its size and location. In some cases, a skin flap or graft may be required, and another specialist may be involved in the wound repair.
  • Finishing Up: The entire process can take several hours, especially if multiple rounds are needed. Following the dermatologist’s instructions for wound care, scar care, and follow-up is crucial for the best outcome.

What types of skin cancers are treatable with Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery is commonly used to treat the most frequent types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). However, it is not limited to these forms. Mohs surgery is also utilized in the treatment of other skin cancers, including certain types of melanomas, dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, microcystic adnexal carcinoma, sebaceous carcinoma, and extramammary Paget disease, among others. This versatile surgical technique is chosen for its ability to precisely remove cancerous tissues while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible, making it suitable for various types of skin cancers.

What are the self-care tips for Mohs Surgery recovery?

​Post-surgery care is crucial for optimal healing after Mohs surgery. Your surgeon will provide specific aftercare instructions, which may include the following tips:

Dressing and Wound Care:
Keep the initial dressing on your wound undisturbed for the first 24 to 48 hours, or as directed by your surgeon.

After the initial healing period, clean the wound with 3% hydrogen peroxide or mild soap, apply petroleum jelly (Vaseline®), and cover with a non-stick dressing twice a day or as directed.

Once the dressing is no longer needed, protect your scar with sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) and protective hats during sun exposure.

Activity Restrictions:
Avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for at least a week.

Swelling and Bruising:
Apply ice or cold packs regularly in the days following surgery to reduce swelling and bruising. Do not put the ice directly on your skin.

Petroleum Jelly Application:
Cover your wound with petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) until your sutures are removed (one to two weeks). Your surgeon may advise you to continue using petroleum jelly for another couple of weeks after the sutures are removed.

Bleeding: A little bleeding or oozing from the wound is normal in the first few hours after surgery. Applying pressure should stop the bleeding. Call your surgeon if the bleeding doesn’t stop.

Signs of Infection: An infected wound can prolong your recovery time and affect scar healing. You may need topical or oral antibiotics. Contact your surgeon if:

      • You develop a fever.
      • You notice a thick, yellowish discharge or foul smell.
      • The area around your wound is bright red.
      • The skin around your wound is swollen and hot to the touch.

Remember, post-operative care is key to a successful recovery after Mohs surgery. Be sure to follow your dermatologists instructions carefully and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.


FAQ About Mohs Micrographic Surgery

Is Mohs Surgery painful?

The surgery itself is not painful because local anesthesia is used. However, there may be some discomfort or pain after the anesthesia wears off.

How long does it take to recover from Mohs Surgery?

Recovery time varies from person to person and depends on the location and size of the tumor, and the type of reconstruction performed. Most people can return to normal activities within a week, but it may take longer for the wound to fully heal.

Will there be a scar after Mohs Micrographic Surgery?

All surgeries leave scars, but Mohs surgery tends to leave a smaller scar than other methods because it removes the least amount of normal tissue.

Can I drive myself home after the surgery?

It is generally recommended to have someone drive you home after the surgery, especially if the surgery is performed near the eyes or if you have taken any sedative medications.

Is there a dermatologist near me in Austin that offers Mohs Micrographic Surgery?

Yes. At our Austin dermatology office we offer Mohs Micrographic Surgery
to patients from Austin and the surrounding area. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.