Minimally Invasive Skin Cancer Treatment

Zand Dermatology

Dermatologist located in Mill Valley, Marin County, CA

Skin cancer's prevalence is on the rise: In the past few decades, the incidence of skin cancer has skyrocketed by 200% in the United States alone. With 10 years of patient experience in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr. Sarv Zand has the compassion and the knowledge to treat your condition with the best options available. Unlike traditional dermatologists that may single-handedly dictate your treatment plan, Dr. Zand will thoroughly explain all the options you have and help you understand the pros and cons of each. She will be your partner and help you choose the best treatment tailored for your specific needs. When appropriate, she can recommend minimally-invasive methods to treat skin cancers, thereby minimizing scarring and emotional stress. If you’ve noticed a new or troubling mark on your skin, don’t hesitate to call Zand Dermatology in Mill Valley, Marin County, California, or book an appointment online.

Minimally Invasive Skin Cancer Treatment Q & A

What is basal cell carcinoma (BCC)?

BCC is the most common form of skin cancer with more than four million cases diagnosed each year in the United States. Often appearing as open sores, shiny bumps, red patches, or pink growths, BCCs are the result of too much sun exposure.

Although BCC rarely spreads from the original tumor site, you shouldn't take its appearance lightly: Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

What is squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)?

With more than one million cases diagnosed each year in the US alone, SCC is the second most common form of skin cancer. SCC is primarily caused by overexposure to ultraviolet light over a lifetime.

It can develop anywhere on your body, but it appears most commonly in areas with higher sun exposure, like your lower lip, the rim of your ear, or your face. SCC often looks like open sores, warts, scaly red patches, or elevated growths that can crust or bleed.

How is skin cancer treated?

Your treatment options will vary based on the size, location, and depth of the tumor, as well as your general health. Dr. Zand will provide important education on your treatment options including Mohs Micrographic Surgery, traditional surgical excisions, radiation, and oral chemotherapies. In addition, Dr. Zand may recommend one of two minimally invasive treatments for skin cancer: electrodesiccation and curettage (ED&C) and Aldara.

What is electrodesiccation and curettage?

ED&C is an out-patient procedure that is used to treat certain BCCs and SCCs. Dr. Zand uses a small instrument called a curette to scrape and remove the tumor, and then cauterizes the base with an eletrocautery tip. Dr. Zand repeats this process, removing additional layers of skin, until your cancerous cells are gone.

You'll need local anesthesia for this procedure, just like for a biopsy, and it heals with a small round pale scar. There are no stitches, so there is minimal downtime. ED&C is a preferred method for treating some small, low-risk skin cancers since it yields a cure rate of 95% or better, without the higher -risks associated with other treatments.

What is Aldara®?

Aldara (Imiquimod) is a topical treatment approved by the FDA to treat BCC, with the official stamp of approval pending for SCC.

This innovative medication stimulates your own immune system, causing your body to produce interferon, a special chemical that attacks your cancer cells. Aldara can cause significant scabbing if overused or used improperly; however, Dr. Zand has developed a special treatment algorithm to minimize irritation while maximizing effectiveness.

Aldara is less invasive than ED&C, offering the lowest chance of scarring, but its cure rate is slightly lower at 80-90%. Dr. Zand will thoroughly address the advantages and disadvantages of each method, and help you select the treatment plan best for you.

With millions of skin cancer cases being diagnosed every year, don’t wait to schedule a checkup. Book an appointment online or call Zand Dermatology today. We can’t wait to see you at our stunning waterfront office in southern Marin.

Detailed List of Services

  • Medical + Surgical:
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    • Meticulous scalp-to-toe full skin examinations
    • Early skin cancer detection and ongoing surveillance
    • Comprehensive mole checks using dermoscopy
    • Mole mapping / total body photography
    • Surgical treatments for melanoma, BCC, and SCC
    • Minimally-invasive treatments for skin cancers
    • General dermatology including acne, rosacea, rashes, eczema, dermatitis, warts, skin allergies
    • Surgical removal of moles and growths
    • Detailed education provided about your skin findings and treatment options
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    • Cosmetic Consultation to identify goals, maximize results within your budget, and help restore confidence in your appearance
    • Neuromodulators (Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, Daxxify) to reduce frown lines, forehead lines, and crows feet – extremely natural approach that maintains movement but without making lines
    • Aesthetic fillers (Juvederm, Restylane) to soften smile lines, dark circles under the eyes, acne scars
    • Voluma and Radiesse for mid-face and temple recontouring
    • Lip enhancement – subtle plumping, absolutely no “duck lips” 
    • Hand rejuvenation to fill volume loss and erase sun spots
    • Ear lobe repair
    • Removal of sunspots, skin tags, angiomas (red bumps)