Management of nonmelanoma skin cancer in 2007

August 1, 2007

As the incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) increases, so does the number of modalities used to treat this condition. Surgery is the most frequent approach used to treat NMSC, and clinicians usually perform Mohs micrographic surgery, conventional excision, electrodesiccation and curettage or cryosurgery. The ‘gold standard’ for treatment continues to be Mohs micrographic surgery, but owing to the time and expense involved with this procedure, it is indicated only in patients with aggressive tumors or those where disfigurement or functional impairment is a risk. Although radiation therapy is effective, its use is limited because of the side effects induced; radiation therapy can be used in certain patients who are not surgical candidates. Newer noninvasive options for NMSC include topical chemotherapeutics, biological-immune-response modifiers, retinoids, and photodynamic therapy, which can be used particularly in patients with superficial tumors. Treatments should be tailored to tumor type, location, size, and histological pattern, and although surgical methods remain the most frequently used, newer noninvasive treatments can be used in select tumors and may reduce morbidity.

Neville JA, Welch E & Leffell DJ.

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