RE: Questionable Treatment for Skin Cancer [00026] Medicine On Line


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RE: Questionable Treatment for Skin Cancer



>My mother has recurring basal cell skin cancer on/in her nose. She has
>already had many spots cut out. Her doctor now says the best treatment for
>her is surgery to take off _all_ the skin from her nose and replace it with
>skin grafted from her forehead.

Systemic and local chemotherapy can be used (e.g. 5-FU), but this is 
somewhat controversial. While 5-FU is popular in some camps, other 
clinicians feel 5-FU for basal cell carcinoma may result in a tumor-free 
surface while the tumor continues to grow beneath the skin. Other drugs,
such as methotrexate, demecolcine, thiocolchicine, Dactinomycin, cytosine 
arabinoside and spriamycin are also felt to be ineffective in treating basal 
cell carcinoma....thus the surgical approach.

When there is recurrence after surgery for a basal cell carcinoma, it is 
generally felt that insufficient margins...the area around the tumor...were 
taken. So...cut out a larger area. The problem then is...replacement of this 
large amount of skin. So...the technique is not all that unusual...and yes, 
there is quite a bit of surgery involved to make sure the graft 'takes'.

Has superficial radiation therapy be explored?

>This seems wierd to me. Does anyone know if this being performed before? Is
>it the _only_ treament left for her? How many surgeries will this entail -
>including the skin removal, plastic surgery for the grafting, etc. Will >this
>leave her forehead and nose scarred? Please help. Any information is
>appreciated.

Loren Buhle