Skin Cancer Treatment Options

Curettage and Electrodessication (C&D)

Utilizing local anesthesia, your expert team of Pittsburgh’s best Dermatologists at the Golla Center for Dermatology will Skin Cancer Treatment Options, then use electrodessication to eradicate any left over tumor cells The wound will then be left open and heals naturally.

The success rate of C&D is almost as good as excisional surgery.

This procedure is quick and safe, and with minimal aftercare required.

Cosmetically, outcome can even be outstanding although C&D might not be the ideal option for aggressive, high risk, or difficult carcinomas.

Skin Cancer Treatment (Topical Medications)

5-Fluorouracil cream (5-FU) is the most widely used topical therapy for superficial basal cell carcinomas and actinic keratosis. While 5-FU is a chemotherapy agent, it has almost no internal effects when applied topically.

We recommend nightly application for about two weeks, during which time the skin can become red and inflamed. Although healing time can take up to two weeks, the cosmetic results are usually outstanding and the success rate is about 93 percent.

Imiquimod 5% cream stimulates your immune system to destroy pre-cancerous and cancerous cells. This cream is applied nightly for up to four weeks to treat superficial basal cell carcinoma.

It’s usually well tolerated when used semi-weekly, but there is always a chance redness and scaling may develop. It can also be applied nightly for up to four weeks for in more advanced cases.

Diclofenac gel is an anti-inflammatory which you apply twice daily for up to three months. It is usually well tolerated, but as with most treatments redness and scaling can occur.

Ingenol mebutate gel can be applied nightly for only three days. There will be significant scaling and redness, but results are usually excellent.

Skin Cancer Treatment (Excisional Surgery)

Using local anesthesia, your Pittsburgh Dermatologist team at the Golla Center for Dermatology will use a scalpel to completely remove the growth, along with an additional buffer area of normal tissue.

Stitches ares used to close the wound, and the the excised tissue sample is sent to our laboratory for verification. This method has about a 90 percent success rate.

The cosmetic outcomes are usually phenomenal.

Skin Cancer Treatment

Skin Cancer Treatment – Cryosurgery

Though not a typical form of treatment, cryosurgery eradicates the tumor cells using extremely cold liquid nitrogen.

This method is useful for small tumors, however we do not recommend it for larger ones or those on certain parts of the scalp, ears, eyelids, legs or nose.

Additional Skin Cancer Treatment Options

Your personal Dermatology team at the Golla Center in Pittsburgh will exhaust every option available to destroy your carcinoma; however, there are some severe carcinomas that may require additional treatments for which we will inform you if it is needed.

Skin Cancer Treatment Options

Mohs Micrographic Surgery Pittsburgh

Using local anesthesia, the tumor and a small margin of normal tissue, is cut out using a scalpel and then viewed with a microscope. If part of the tumor remains, your Pittsburgh Mohs surgeon will continue to repeat the procedure until the latest layer examined is completely tumor free.

This technique has been perfected at the Golla Center for Dermatology and saves the most healthy tissue while having highest success rate of over 98 percent.

Tumors that have recurred, are poorly defined, or in critical areas around the ears, lips, nose, and eyes will benefit the post from this procedure.


Radiation therapy can be a decent option for patients with large cancers, elderly patients, or those unable to undergo surgery.

It is rarely recommended as an initial treatment option in younger patients due to the risk of developing long-term issues. Radiation can also be used after surgery if the tumor was not entirely removed, or if your care team believes some of the cancer might remain.

Targeted Therapy for Advanced Basal Cell Carcinoma

In extreme cases when the basal cell carcinoma has spread too far, or can’t be cured using surgery or radiation, the targeted drug, Vismodegib (Erivedge) can usually slow cancer growth or even shrink the tumor. It can also be effective when used to shrink an extremely large tumor before surgery is performed.

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