How can you prevent skin cancer from coming back?

Are the different treatments ever combined? Are the treatments for skin cancer usually repeated over a long period of time?

Sometimes one treatment is sufficient. In other circumstances, repeated treatments are necessary. In some cases, a combination of methods may be used. Again, it depends upon the individual case.

Does skin cancer recur?

Yes. Skin cancer is one of the most common recurrent cancers. A person with skin cancer has a 50 to 60 percent chance of having a second cancer, usually another skin cancer. Therefore, patients should have follow up visits two to four times a year.

Is there any research under way using vitamin A to prevent the recurrence of basal cell cancer?

The National Cancer Institute is conducting a five year study to test the effectiveness of a form of vitamin A isotretinoin in slowing the development of new basal cell skin cancers. Skin cancer patients are randomly assigned to one of two groups and receive either the isotretinom or a placebo. Neither the patient nor the doctor knows which agent is being taken. When all patients have taken capsules for three years, researchers will compare the groups to see if those taking isotretinoin have fewer basal cell cancers. Among the institutions involved are Roswell Park Memorial Institute (Buffalo, New York), Brooke Army Medical Center (San Antonio, Texas), Portsmouth Naval Hospital (Portsmouth, Virginia), Walter Reed Army Medical Center (Washington, D.C.), Eisenhower Army Medical Center (Augusta, Georgia), Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center (Aurora, Colorado), University of Arkansas (Little Rock) and Northwestern University (Chicago, Illinois).

Skin cancer surgery and recovery

Are operations for removal of skin cancer, especially around the eyes and the mouth, disfiguring?

No, they need not be. Usually some kind of skin graft or other plastic surgery is done so that a person with these skin cancers on the face need not worry about disfigurement.


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