The mainstay of treatment for skin cancers is surgery. Some of the changes which occur within the skin prior to a cancer developing can be treated by creams or other non invasive methods, but some form of surgery is essential if there is any suspicion that a cancer has developed. The reason surgery is so important is so that a proper examination of the cancer can be performed in the laboratory. The laboratory report can give a precise diagnosis of the cancer, and also gives a guide as to whether the whole cancer has been removed. This can not be done by any other method.
Lesions which can be seen prior to cancers forming can be treated successfully with some creams, such as Efudix, Aldara, and Picato. These function to either directly kill the pre-cancerous cells (Efudix) or stimulate the body’s immune system to recognise the pre-cancerous cells more effectively (Aldara and Picato). They will not effectively reach any cancer below the epidermis.
Surgery may involve removing just a shave of skin (in the case of very superficial, low grade cancers) or an excision with suture. All excision repairs at this surgery are performed using dissolving sutures which are buried under the skin surface, and hold the skin together effectively for longer than sutures that need to be removed. The resulting scars from this technique are far more cosmetically acceptable.
Sometimes you may be referred to a Plastic Surgeon, or other Specialist if the doctor has concerns about your particular case.