Basal cell & Squamous cell carcinoma treatments

The treatment options our office has available for Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma can be done in our office. They include:

  • Curettage
  • Topical Treatments
  • Mohs Surgery
  • Surgery

Note: Click on our Glossary of Terms tab for other definitions.


A very common treatment for basal cell carcinoma is curettage. It’s most effective for low-risk abnormal skin cells found on your trunk and limbs.

First, the area is numbed with a local anesthetic. Once the freezing has taken effect, your surgeon uses a curette (a semisharp instrument with a spoon-shaped edge) to scrape away the cancerous tissue. Once that is done, your doctor uses an electric needle to control the bleeding. This technique also destroys any cancer cells that may remain around the edge of the tumor. The wound usually heals within a few weeks.

Topical Chemotherapy

Most people think of chemotherapy as something they get by IV or take as pills. But topical chemotherapy treatments also exist. These are creams and lotions that contain chemotherapy drugs. Topical chemotherapy targets damaged skin without touching the surrounding normal tissue. However, because the cancerous tissue is not removed, it can’t be tested.

Cure rates are typically lower with topical chemotherapy than with other therapies, so these treatments are usually reserved for small low-risk lesions. A drawback to topical chemotherapy is that it may not go through all the layers of the skin, so careful follow-up is essential after treatment.

One topical chemotherapy we offer is fluorouracil. It’s available in a lotion form, and you apply it at home for three to six weeks. Another topical treatment is imiquimod, a lotion that causes immune cells to attack the abnormal tissue.

Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery is a precise surgical technique used to treat skin cancer. During Mohs surgery, thin layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains. Mohs surgery is also known as Mohs micrographic surgery.

We will determine if Mohs surgery is appropriate for treating your skin cancer, depending on the type of skin cancer you have and it’s location. MORE HERE


High-risk basal cell carcinoma is usually removed by surgery, which can be done anywhere on your body. To perform the procedure, called standard surgical excision or removal, your surgeon injects a local (area) anesthetic and then removes the tumor from your skin. A portion of tissue around the tumor (a safety margin) is also taken off to make sure that all the cancer cells have been removed. The wound is then closed with sutures (stitches).

Surgery is most effective for tumors with well-defined borders. One advantage to this procedure is that the tissue can be sent to a laboratory so a pathologist (a specialist who examines the tissue for signs of cancer) can verify if the whole tumor has been removed.