Treatment overview

Most  people with BCC or SCC are cured with treatment. There are a variety of treatments for skin cancer. The options offered to you will depend on several factors including the size of the skin cancer, where it is on your body and your biopsy results.


Surgery is an important treatment for many skin cancers. It can be done in a variety of ways.


Cryotherapy destroys cancer cells by using liquid nitrogen to freeze them. It’s a very quick way of treating small, low-risk skin cancers such as superficial BCCs.


Radiotherapy may be used instead of surgery. It can be a very effective treatment for basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Radiotherapy may be given after surgery if there’s a risk that some cancer cells may still be present. Sometimes it’s used for tumours that have grown into the deeper layers of the skin.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT)

PDT uses light sources, combined with a light-sensitive drug (sometimes called a photosensitising agent), to destroy cancer cells.

Topical chemotherapy

A chemotherapy cream containing a drug called 5FU (Efudix®) can be used to treat some early SCCs and superficial BCCs. We have more information about topical chemotherapy.

Topical immunotherapy

A cream called imiquimod (Aldara®) can be used to treat some BCCs and SCCs. We have more information about topical immunotherapy.

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