What Are the Potential Side Effects of Skin Cancer Treatments?

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Skin cancer is unequivocally one of the most prevalent forms of cancer and requires prompt and effective treatment to help prevent its progression and ensure optimal outcomes for patients. At Clear Lake Dermatology — with convenient locations in Webster and League City, TX — our team of dermatology specialists is committed to providing comprehensive skin cancer care tailored to each patient's needs. While treatments such as topical chemotherapy, cryosurgery, Mohs surgery, and electrodesiccation and curettage can effectively target skin cancer lesions and are typically well tolerated with minimal downtime, it is important to understand the potential side effects of skin cancer treatments so that you can prepare accordingly. Here, we’ll outline what side effects may be possible with four widely used skin cancer treatments.

Topical chemotherapy for skin cancer

Topical chemotherapy involves applying medications directly to the skin to target and destroy cancerous cells. While this treatment is generally well-tolerated, it may cause side effects such as:

  • Skin irritation
  • Dryness
  • Sensitivity to sunlight

Cryosurgery (freezing) for skin cancer

Cryosurgery involves freezing cancerous cells using liquid nitrogen, causing them to die and be replaced by healthy tissue. While cryosurgery is a relatively simple and effective treatment for superficial skin cancers, it may be associated with the following side effects:

  • Blistering
  • Pigment changes
  • Nerve damage (extremely rare)

Mohs surgery for skin cancer

Mohs surgery is a highly precise technique used to remove skin cancer layer by layer, minimizing damage to healthy tissue. While Mohs surgery offers high cure rates and excellent cosmetic outcomes, it may be associated with the following side effects:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Scarring
  • Bleeding and infection

Electrodesiccation and curettage for skin cancer

Electrodesiccation and curettage (ED&C) is a procedure that involves scraping away cancerous tissue followed by cauterization to destroy any remaining cancer cells. While ED&C is a relatively straightforward procedure, it may be associated with the following side effects:

  • Pain and tenderness
  • Scarring
  • Bleeding and infection

Fortunately, most side effects after these types of skin cancer treatments are mild, temporary, and/or rare. Additionally, choosing a skilled dermatologist and adhering to proper aftercare instructions can help to dramatically reduce your risk of side effects, ensure your safety, and increase your chances of a more favorable prognosis. Following your consultation, as well as during and after your skin cancer procedure, our knowledgeable team will take ample time to discuss appropriate aftercare guidelines with you.

Safeguard your health with advanced skin cancer treatment in Greater Houston, TX

While skin cancer treatments may be associated with a risk of side effects, there is no question that the benefits of treating skin cancer far outweigh the potential for side effects. At Clear Lake Dermatology, our experienced dermatologists are dedicated to providing personalized care and support to minimize side effects and optimize treatment outcomes for our patients. If you have any questions or concerns about skin cancer treatments or their potential side effects, don't hesitate to contact us. We're here to help you navigate your skin cancer journey with confidence and compassion. To learn more about the importance of regular skin cancer screenings, or to schedule your consultation for skin cancer treatment in League City or Webster, TX, call us today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.