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Squamous cell carcinoma

Treatment

Treatment options for squamous cell carcinoma are:

  • Surgery: Surgery is a preferred treatment option, especially for squamous cell carcinoma limited to the skin. Several surgical interventions are used for the management of squamous cell carcinoma. These are:
  • Surgical excision: This procedure involves the removal of a tumor with the help of a surgical knife. The procedure is done under local anesthesia.
  • Mohs surgery: This technique aims to spare healthy tissues to minimize complications. In this technique, the oncosurgeons remove one layer at a time, which is evaluated under the microscope for the presence of cancerous cells. One more layer is removed and checked if the cancer cells are present. The process continues until a layer without the cancer cell is obtained.
  • Lymph node removal surgery: If cancer spreads to the lymph node, the surgeon removes the lymph node through surgery.
  • Radiation therapy: If the tumor on the skin spreads to a very large area and it is not feasible to perform the surgery, the patients are recommended to undergo radiation therapy. Radiation therapy may also be used in patients with small squamous cell carcinoma in whom surgery is not possible. Radiation therapy combined with surgery lowers the risk of cancer recurrence.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the treatment strategy that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be used in combination with surgery or radiation therapy.
  • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy interferes with the action of substances in the cancer cells, such as proteins or enzymes, which are essential for the growth, division, and spread of cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy drugs boost the activity of the immune system to find and destroy tumor cells. These drugs inhibit the process through which the cancer cells escape from the damaging effects of immune cells.
  • Laser therapy: The small squamous cell carcinoma may also be treated by a guiding laser beam on the tumor. Laser, due to high energy, vaporizes the cancer cells. However, laser therapy may result in slight damage to healthy tissues.
  • Cryotherapy: Very low temperature is used to freeze and kill the cancer cell in cryotherapy.
  • Photodynamic therapy: Photodynamic therapy involves using high-energy radiation and photosensitive drugs. This therapy has lesser side effects. The photosensitive drug is non-toxic in its deactivated form. Once the drug is injected into the body, high-energy light is focused on the tumor that activates the drug. The activated drug is toxic to cancer cells.

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