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Topical Products and Other Therapies

Some lesions and superficial skin cancers can be treated with topical products — creams or gels — that are applied directly to the skin. Others work by light or radiation. During your consultation with Dr. Greco, he will go over which non-surgical treatment option may be used instead, or alongside your surgical procedure. 

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Liquid Nitrogen

With liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy), Dr. Greco will apply liquid nitrogen to a pre-cancerous or non-cancerous lesion to freeze and kill the abnormal skin cells. The liquid nitrogen may be applied more than once during the same office visit.

Once the area is treated, it will likely crust, scale and peel off over the course of 1-2 weeks.  At times, lesions may need be treated again on subsequent visits.

Topical Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy creams use your own immune system to destroy cancer cells. Used for pre-cancerous lesions and certain superficial skin cancers, immunotherapy creams must be used for several weeks — but it may help you avoid surgery or prevent pre-cancerous lesions from progressing. The area may become a little red or irritated, or the skin may get scabby, but many skin cancer patients are very excited to embrace a topical product.

Topical Chemotherapy

Topical chemotherapy is just what it sounds like: chemotherapy that is applied via a cream, gel, or ointment directly onto the skin. This treatment targets pre-cancerous cells and certain superficial non-melanoma skin cancers on or near the skin’s surface, but it is unable to reach cancer cells that are found deeper in the skin or those that have spread. This product doesn’t cause the same side effects as traditional chemotherapy because it’s only administered to the skin. However, you may find that your skin becomes red, scaly, crusted and more sensitive during the treatment period and for a short duration after using topical chemotherapy.

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Photodynamic Therapy 

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) works by utilizing a topical drug in the form of a solution that is applied directly to the skin. This drug requires an “incubation period” for approximately 1 hour or so.

During the incubation period, the drug accumulates within the target cells. Blue light therapy is then exposed to the treatment area, which photoactivates the drug to preferentially destroy the cells.

Radiation Therapy

Sometimes the lesion is very large, advanced, or deeply invasive where surgical intervention is not sufficient alone. Or a patient may have factors that indicate to Dr. Greco that they are not an appropriate surgical candidate. In cases like these, radiation is often recommended. Greco Dermatology will coordinate referral to the most appropriate radiation oncology center for you when indicated.

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Why Choose Greco Dermatology?

Not only is Joseph F. Greco, M.D. double board-certified by The American Board of Dermatology in Dermatology and Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery; he is also a fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon and skin cancer specialist who served as Director of UCLA Santa Monica Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery for 12 years. 

As a third-generation medical provider, Dr. Greco loves getting to know the patients and developing long-term relationships with them.

Patients appreciate his recognition and extensive and unique work experience, and they want a trusted dermatologist to provide comprehensive care in the surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment of skin cancer and suspicious lesions. Dr. Greco is not only this; he is also an expert who can help achieve treatment goals and an overall enjoyable experience.

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