Skin cancer rates continue to rise in the world, accounting for one-third of all new cancer. That’s an alarming statistic—and a sad one, too, given that most cases are preventable.
Luckily, there have been tremendous advances in skin cancer treatment over the past five years especially when it comes to helping patients with advanced melanoma.
“In the past, we had limited – and not very successful – therapies,” a doctor says. “Now, there is a range of options that can prolong survival. There’s finally a ray of hope for skin cancer treatment.” Here are three new skin cancer treatments that are making an impact on treatment and care.
Immune-based therapies called biologic are a broad class of medications that can have a significant impact on life expectancy – and even remission – for advanced melanoma. Unlike traditional therapies that target tumors directly, immuno-oncology uses drugs that work with the immune system to attack cancer cells.
New drugs are being tested in clinical trials that work on a genetic level to correct or prevent molecular abnormalities. One such drug, an oral medication called Vismodegib, has already been approved by medical agencies to target advanced basal cell carcinoma and prevent the growth and spread of the disease.
This is one of the new skin cancer treatments that is widely used as an alternative to zapping precancerous spots with liquid nitrogen. Photodynamic therapy takes advantage of the fact that precancerous cells are more metabolically active than normal cells says a dermatologist.
The precancerous cells ‘pick up’ Levulan, a medication that is metabolized into a compound that makes these cells selectively sensitive to laser destruction – it’s like wiping a blackboard free of chalk and is ideal for preventing non-melanoma skin cancer.