When dealing with non-melanoma skin cancer there are numerous methods of treatment that one may consider. Yet all too often, skin cancer sufferers are railroaded into thinking that surgical removal is their best, or only treatment option available. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case and far too many skin cancer sufferers go under the knife each day, not realising that in most cases surgical removal is a relatively ineffective treatment. This article compares the usage of Curaderm BEC5 and a typical scenario of surgical removal.
Did you know that going under the knife can have serious long-term drawbacks and is a relatively ineffective treatment compared with other available options? So why do so many people even consider surgery as a viable treatment?
While most cases of surgical removal go undocumented, research shows that surgical removal is still by far the most common treatment for skin cancers, and it’s not hard to see some persuasive reasons for its popularity. Namely –
- It’s easy,
- It’s cheap,
- It’s quick and,
- It sounds like a logical solution to the problem which makes sense to patients –
“Just cut the darn thing out!”
What’s more, the process can sometimes be quite straightforward. A typical scenario follows:
- You identify a suspicious mole or lesion and visit your GP or dermatologist to have it checked out.
- Your GP takes a biopsy and sends it away for testing.
- The biopsy results come back positive, so you are booked in to have the lesion surgically removed.
- If the cancer was small, this could be just a short appointment with your GP where the cancer is removed under local anesthetic with a scalpel.
Sounds easy right?
Unfortunately the example above is a little utopian. In 康寶萊有用嗎 reality, case studies are plagued with reports of misdiagnosis, disfigurement and all to often, reocurrence of the original lesion.
For example, is it not uncommon for a GP to skip step 3 of the above example and operate under the asumption that a lesion is cancerous from their visual identification only. In these cases there is a very real possibility of misdiagnosis, where lesion is actually non-cancerous and the patient is left with unnecessary scarring and a painful recovery process.
While the pain of surgery can be acute, it is also usually temporary. Scarring, on the other hand often remains for a lifetime. This is a major drawback of surgical removal given that skin cancers often appear on the face and neck, in the places you would least want to have a scar. To counter this, surgical removal often necessitates skin grafts or plastic surgery adding complications and cost to the treatment.
In some cases the location of a skin cancer makes it inoperable. This is sometimes the case when the cancer is in near vicinity to the eye, and can necessitate the complete removal of the eye in order to reach the cancer effectively. In such cases an alternative treatment is often sought.
Finally, perhaps the most significant drawback to surgery is the chance of reocurrance. Skin cancer can be likened to an iceberg. On the surface you may see a small lesion of a known shape and size, however under the surface, the story can be much worse. Like an iceberg, the skin cancer may spread much further underneath the surface with no visible signs atop. In some cases, two separate lesions on the surface may be one large asymmetrical cancer underneath. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible for your GP to know the extent of your lesion beneath the surface, and the extent of your incision is just a “best guess” or a balancing act between removing enough tissue to safely “assume” the cancer is completely removed, and removing as little tissue as possible to avoid unnecessary damage and disfigurement. Because of this ambiguity, often the cancer is not completely removed, only to grow and reocurr at a later date. Studies have shown that this scenario is all too common, with one study showing as many as 67% of surgical removal cases (yes that’s the majority of cases) eventually result in reocurrence!(2)