Treating advanced CSCC

Who treats advanced CSCC?

The following specialized doctors may be involved in your care and can help determine the right treatment options for you.

Medical oncologists: Doctors who diagnose and treat cancers
Surgical oncologists: Doctors with specialized training to manage and remove tumors and other cancerous tissue through surgery
Dermatologists: Doctors who evaluate and treat disorders of the skin
Radiation oncologists: Doctors who specialize in radiation therapy, a treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors
Mohs surgeons: Doctors who use a specific surgical technique, called Mohs surgery, to treat skin cancer. They remove thin layers of cancerous skin until no cancer cells remain

How can advanced CSCC be treated?

While most CSCC cases can be cured with surgery or radiation when found and treated early, in advanced stages these can become more difficult to treat successfully.

Advanced CSCC can be treated by surgery


During surgery, the intent is to remove the cancerous tumor and affected surrounding tissue. Some people with advanced CSCC may have multiple surgeries as part of their treatment to remove tumors on the head, neck, and other parts of the body. Depending on the extent and location of the surgery, some may need reconstructive surgery to repair areas of the skin or other structures of the body such as the nose or ear affected by the tumor. Surgery for CSCC is typically performed by a surgical oncologist, Mohs surgeon, or another trained surgical specialist.
Advanced CSCC can be treated by radiation


Advanced CSCC may also be treated with radiation therapy, which is a type of cancer treatment that uses beams of intense energy, most often X-rays, to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy is given by a radiation oncologist.

Immunotherapy may also be used to treat metastatic CSCC or locally advanced CSCC when it cannot be cured by surgery or radiation.

Advanced CSCC can be treated with immunotherapy


Immunotherapy is a type of systemic drug therapy (a type of drug that moves through the body) that may help your immune system fight cancer. Your body might not attack cancer because the cancer cells have developed ways to avoid the immune system. Immunotherapy helps the immune system recognize, attack, and kill the cancer cells. This treatment is given by a medical oncologist.

Immunotherapy is not chemotherapy, which is another type of systemic drug therapy.

Immunotherapy can cause your immune system to attack normal organs and tissues in your body, which may cause serious side effects.

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