Although a cancer diagnosis is often devastating to receive, advancements in medicine and medical technology have helped to increase cancer survival rates. Even if a procedure was not the effective skin cancer treatment you had hoped for, there are alternatives that can still be used. Cryotherapy is one such alternative, although it is best used for early forms of skin cancer that hasn’t metastasized (spread to other areas of your body).
At West Dermatology, a world-renowned dermatological center, our board-certified staff of cosmetic and medical skin experts provides the latest, most advanced skin cancer treatment options on the market. Contact our dermatology team today by calling 888-554-8740 or contacting us online to schedule a consultation or find out more about your particular case and the available skin cancer treatment options, especially if you’ve had prior, yet unsuccessful, treatment.
What Is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy uses extreme cold to freeze and then destroy cancer cells and other diseased tissue. Cryosurgery is a surgical type of cryotherapy, and it’s an effective, minimally invasive way to treat dermatological lesions or tumors, such as actinic keratosis, seborrheic keratosis, warts, and superficial basal or squamous cell carcinoma. It’s also used to treat tumors found within your body, such as prostate cancer.
Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen (argon or carbon dioxide are also used) at temperatures between –346° F and –320° F to instantly freeze and eventually kill diseased tissue, an especially effective way to kill cancerous cells.
For unhealthy tissue outside the body, such as a skin lesion, the liquid nitrogen is sprayed on or applied with a cotton swab. For tumors within your body, an applicator called a cryoprobe, made intensely cold by the liquid nitrogen or other gas flowing through it, is inserted into your body.
Once these cells are destroyed, your immune system begins absorbing and eliminating the remaining microscopic particles of dead tissue.
Depending on the location, severity, and breadth of the tumor or diseased tissue, the cryotherapy procedure is repeated as many times as necessary to rid your body of the hazardous tissue.
What to Expect During a Cryotherapy Procedure
For a topical cryotherapy procedure, the area(s) being treated may be numbed with a local anesthetic. Then the liquid nitrogen is applied to the area either by spray or by a cotton swab.
Common Conditions Treated with Cryotherapy
Whether through topical or surgical applications, cryotherapy is effective in treating the following:
- Skin or eye lesions
- Skin tumors
- Skin tags
- Unwanted freckles
- Pre-cancerous skin moles
Cryotherapy Side Effects
Advances in cryosurgical methods and technology have greatly reduced the long-term side effects that the treatment used to cause. However, there are still side effects, most of which are mild and temporary, especially when compared to other surgical or radiation carcinoma treatment:
- Numbness or tingling
- Skin redness and irritation of the skin
- Skin discoloration around the treated site
- Pain or soreness
- Damage to nearby healthy tissue or vessels
Depending on your type of skin cancer treatment, you can expect to resume your normal daily routine immediately after treatment. Afterward, any wounds or frozen patches of skin should be cared for and bandages changed regularly to avoid infection or other complications.
Follow-up appointments are recommended to determine the success of your treatment and the necessity of further treatment. Read more about cryotherapy at WedMD.com.
Talk to West Dermatology about Cryotherapy
If you have skin lesions or tumors, or if you have skin cancer anywhere on your body, cryotherapy skin cancer treatment might be good to consider, especially if other treatments haven’t been successful. To learn more, contact West Dermatology today for a consultation about by filling out our online contact form or calling us at 888-554-8740.
Next, read about Curettage and Electrodesiccation.