Treatment for skin cancer

There are many different types of skin cancer. The type of treatment your doctor suggests will depend on lots of things including your age, the type and size of the cancer, and where it is on your body.

There are 5 main types of treatment for skin cancer; your doctor will be able to discuss these with you in more detail.


Surgery is one of the treatment options for skin cancer and involves cutting out the affected area. Once the cancer has been removed you might need a few stitches, or if the cancer is large, the surgeon may take a thin layer of skin from elsewhere on your body for a skin graft which will help the area to heal.


Radiotherapy uses radiation to target and kill cancer cells. Sometimes one treatment is enough but you might need a couple of treatment sessions. It can also be used after surgery if the doctor thinks there might still be some cancer cells left. This treatment is not recommended in young people.


If the cancer is small and low risk, a treatment called cryotherapy can be used to freeze off the affected area.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) 

Photodynamic therapy uses a cream to make your skin more sensitive to light. Once the cream has been absorbed special light is shone on the area which kills the cancer cells.

Creams and gels

Some early stage cancers that are still close to the surface can be treated with creams and gels applied directly onto the skin to kill the cancer cells. This can normally be done at home over a couple of weeks.


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