Browser does not support script.
Skip to main content
Find out how we produce our information|
If the cancer is very small and only affecting the surface layers of the skin, it may be possible to remove it by freezing it. This is called cryotherapy or cryosurgery. This treatment is only occasionally used.
Liquid nitrogen is sprayed on to the cancer to freeze it. It can be a bit painful when the liquid nitrogen is applied - some patients describe the feeling as like a bee sting.
After the treatment you may feel an aching or throbbing sensation in the area for a minute or two. Within an hour or so the area may blister. This is to be expected and the blister may contain blood. Fluid may need to be drained from the blister using a sterile needle, but the top of the blister should be left intact.
The treated area needs to be covered with a dressing until a scab forms. About two weeks after the treatment, the scab drops off and the cancer cells should have cleared. You may have a white scar in the area. Occasionally, you may need more than one cryotherapy treatment to get rid of the tumour completely.
Content last reviewed: 1 September 2011
Next planned review: 2013
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
If you have any questions about Macmillan we would love to hear from you| .
You can also follow us| on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.
© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
what are these?|