New research has shown laser surgery for skin cancer may help treat some precancerous skin growths, according to the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.
In cases where radiation therapy or excision surgery are not possible, your plastic surgeon may be able to employ the use of a carbon dioxide laser to treat the growth. This type of laser surgery for skin cancer is best used to treat growths on the head and neck that have yet to transform into melanomas, one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer.
To test the effectiveness of laser surgery for skin cancer, researchers compared it to other treatment techniques like radiation therapy and surgical removal. The researchers compared surgery treatment cases over the course of about 20 years. Radiation therapy was the most commonly used technique and laser surgery for skin cancer, the least common with just 15 of 73 patients undergoing that option.
The recurrence rate of cancers treated with surgery and the carbon dioxide laser were relatively low, at 4.2 and 6.7% respectively. Patients who underwent radiation treatments saw the greatest recurrence at 29%.
Though many plastic surgeons may choose excision surgery when given the opportunity, given its lower recurrence rate in the study, it is not always possible. In areas where a surgical scar may be more visible, like areas around the neck and face, laser surgery for skin cancer may be advantageous.
Despite any cosmetic benefits of using laser surgery for skin cancer, it is important to follow the advice of your plastic surgeon when it comes to treatment.
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