NON-SURGICAL CANCER TREATMENTS
Cryotherapy refers to a treatment in which surface skin lesions are frozen. It is a minimally invasive procedure that uses extremely cold liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue that requires elimination. It is also referred to as cryosurgery or cryoablation.
Common indications for Cryotherapy:
- Viral warts
- Seborrhoeic keratoses
- Actinic keratoses
- Molluscum contagiosum
- Skin tags
The following skin cancers may also be suitable for Cryotherapy if performed by a dermatologist with appropriate training and after evaluation of all possible modalities:
- Superficial basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma-in-situ
- Cryotherapy using liquid nitrogen involves the use of Cryospray or a cotton-tipped applicator
- Nitrogen is applied to skin lesion for a few seconds, depending on the type and diameter, as well as depth of freeze
- Treatment is repeated till thawing is completed
Usually, no special attention is needed during the healing phase. The treated area may be gently washed once or twice daily and should be kept clean. A dressing is optional but is advisable if the affected area is subject to trauma or if clothes rub on it.
Although the most common forms of skin cancer include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, there are also early superficial forms of skin cancers which include superficial basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma-in-situ (i.e. Bowen’s disease) and pre-cancerous lesions known as actinic keratoses.
Although the majority of skin cancers are treated surgically with a wide local excision or Mohs Micrographic Surgery, treatment options for superficial skin cancers also includes medical management with topical therapies such as 5-fluorouracil cream, imiquimod or ingenol mebutate gel.
Dr Angeline Yong is a consultant dermatologist and dermatological surgeon whose subspecialty interests includes skin cancers and Mohs Micrographic Surgery. As a HMDP fellowship-trained dermatological surgeon with extensive all-round expertise in the surgical and medical management of skin cancers, Dr Yong will discuss with each patient the various treatment options available for the type of skin cancer that he or she is dealing with. As Dr Yong is fellowship-trained in both the medical and surgical management of skin cancers, she is able to deliver comprehensive and wholistic care when it comes to not only the immediate management of a newly diagnosed skin cancer, but also delineate the long-term treatment plans for patients that may be at risk of developing more skin cancers over their lifetime.