Natural and medical treatment
Treatment and management of skin cancer depend on the variant, but all of them should be evaluated by a doctor.
In the case of basal cell carcinoma, the therapeutic goal is eliminating the tumor while preserving physical appearance as much as possible. The most common treatment is surgery, which varies depending on the location, size, and depth of the lesion. However, there are new options under study that may also become a useful alternative for these patients, as in photodynamic therapy using photosensitizers. In other cases, it will be possible to use local chemotherapy or immune-modulating agents, especially in milder cases of skin cancer. For infiltrative forms and recurrent basal cell carcinoma, Mohs micrographic surgery may be considered, and patients who are not candidates for surgery may undergo radiation therapy or hedgehog pathway inhibitors (drugs that inhibit the transduction of a transmembrane protein).
In cases of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, they can be treated with electrodesiccation and curettage in milder cases, and Mohs micrographic surgery in invasive types of cancer. In most cases, radiation therapy is used as an adjuvant measure, and chemotherapy may be recommended in high-risk cases.
In cases of melanoma, taking a biopsy is extremely important to evaluate cancer and treat patients. Excisional biopsies are performed in smaller lesions, taking a portion of subcutaneous fat and an additional 2 or 3 mm of peripheral margin. In larger lesions, we can perform punch biopsies in the thickest area of the melanoma lesion. All cases of melanoma should be removed completely, including a margin of 0.5 cm in cases of melanoma in situ and 1 or 2 cm in larger lesions or 2mm thick lesions. In cases of melanoma located in the face, Mohs micrographic surgery is sometimes considered, but it is not the standard care and more study is needed to validate its application in melanoma of the neck and head.
Additionally, certain botanical agents have been described to treat non-melanoma skin cancer or prevent their recurrence. For example, hypericin, the principal active constituent of Hypericum, has been found to improve the prognosis of patients when combined with photodynamic therapy in basal cell carcinoma. Coffee consumption has been associated with a reduction in the prevalence of non-melanoma skin cancer in some studies, but others have shown no association.
However, among natural products, the most widely used is paclitaxel, which was originally discovered in 1993 as a product by a fungus that lives in the yew tree. This substance is a successful anticancer agent sold under the brand name Taxol, and it is used as a chemotherapy agent due to its antiproliferative activity, which has been demonstrated in cases of squamous cell carcinoma and recurrent basal cell carcinoma.
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