A Guide to Cryosurgery for Skin Cancer Patients

With about 9,500 new cases of skin cancer being diagnosed in the United States alone every day, the odds that you or someone you love will eventually get this disease are fairly high. This is not meant to scare you, but simply to urge you to prepare for the possibility and to learn about various treatment options now, rather than waiting until you’re in the midst of a medical crisis. This particular guide will teach you about cryosurgery for skin cancer patients.

One of the positive things about getting skin cancer, as opposed to other, less common types of cancer, is that there are a variety of effective treatment options available. While you should, of course, always create a treatment plan with your team of oncologists and dermatologists, cryosurgery is a good option for many patients, particularly those who have precancerous cells. Some common questions are detailed in the next section.

What is cryosurgery?

Cryosurgery, which can also be called cryotherapy, involves the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze precancerous or cancerous cells until they die. This procedure can be used to eliminate both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas in their early stages. It bears noting that patients sometimes have to undergo more than one cryotherapy session in order to destroy their cancer cells.

Who are the best candidates for cryosurgery?

Cryosurgery is most effective when it is used on people who are in the very early stages of skin cancer, such as those who have precancerous cells. It can also, however, be an option for individuals who have more advanced cancers, but are unable to undergo invasive procedures for one reason or another.

In some cases, for instance, people who have bleeding disorders lack options when it comes to surgical treatments. Cryosurgery is a great option for these individuals because there is no blood loss associated with the procedure.

Is cryosurgery painful?

Because cryosurgery is not an invasive skin cancer treatment, there is no extreme pain involved. Most patients, however, do feel a stinging or pinching sensation when the liquid nitrogen is first applied. This can range from mild to moderate. Most doctors will advise patients to use topical pain relievers after their procedures, if needed. You may also notice a faint scar where your mole was once your cryosurgery therapy is complete.

Hearing the words “skin cancer” is never easy, but treatments like cryosurgery can make recovery possible in less time than you may think. If you’re concerned you may have precancerous cells on your body, contact the New York Dermatology Group at 212-533-8888 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.