Electrochemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that has been gaining a lot of popularity lately. It is a more effective method of chemotherapy, as it uses an electric pulse that sends the chemotherapy into the cancer cell after being injected into the bloodstream. The electric pulse alters the outer layer of the cancer cell, making it easier for the chemotherapy to penetrate inside.
Electrochemotherapy For Skin Cancer
Electrochemotherapy is primarily used to treat skin cancer. It has been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a treatment for cancers that affect the skin. In addition to relieving the symptoms of skin cancer, it can also be used to control the symptoms when other treatments fail to manage the condition.
Electrochemotherapy can help reverse the growth of cancer cells on the skin and prevent them from spreading to other parts of your body. Your doctor may recommend electrochemotherapy if you have developed:
- Melanoma skin cancer
- Basal and squamous cell skin cancers
- Kaposi’s sarcoma
- Neck or heard cancers that spread to the skin
- Breast cancer is it has spread to the skin
Since electrochemotherapy is more precise, it can selectively kill cancer cells and minimize the damage to the healthy cells surrounding the tumor.
While most people see some benefits after undergoing electrochemotherapy, the rate of success varies from person to person. Therefore, it is necessary to thoroughly discuss the treatment with your doctor in advance and understand the pros and cons. If you go into it with realistic expectations, you will likely be much more satisfied with the results.
Side Effects of Electrochemotherapy
Electrochemotherapy isn’t practiced widely yet. Therefore, it will still take time to understand the true side effects of this treatment in the long run. However, minor side effects have been addressed by patients who have been given electrochemotherapy so far.
One of the main side effects of electrochemotherapy is the pain a patient may experience when the electrode touches the skin. While the pain is mild and only affects the area of the body that directly came in contact with the electrode, it can last for a couple of days after the session. In some cases, people have reported experiencing a more severe pain that lasted around two to four weeks. If you experience severe pain, your doctor will provide you with some pain killers.
You may also experience some muscle contractions during the treatment. If it gets too uncomfortable, the doctor can slightly alter the method to accommodate it. Some patients have reported mild fever following the treatment, but this can be done with an anti-sickness medicine.
It is rare to develop an infection on the treated area, but it is possible. If you notice any swelling, redness, or abnormal discharge in the area, report it to your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.
Currently, electrochemotherapy is only used when other types of cancer treatment stop working or fail to treat the symptoms altogether. More research is required before electrochemotherapy becomes a primary form of cancer treatment.
It is expected that electrochemotherapy will be used as a treatment for early signs of skin cancer in the near future. However, it is necessary to compare it with current types of cancer treatments and weigh the pros and cons before it becomes a common cancer treatment.
Is Electrochemotherapy Available In the US?
As discussed above, electrochemotherapy has not yet become a primary cancer treatment and is only used as a last resort. Thus, if you have recently been diagnosed with an early stage of melanoma skin cancer, it is likely that you won’t undergo electrochemotherapy. You will likely receive more common types of cancer treatments before your doctor considers electrochemotherapy.
However, if the cancer has already progressed and other treatments have started to fail, you will likely receive electrochemotherapy irrespective of where you live in the US.
Electrochemotherapy is a treatment that is used when other cancer treatments have failed. You should always pay close attention to your health to ensure that you don’t actually get to a point where you need electrochemotherapy. If you notice any symptoms of skin cancer, visit Suncoast Skin Solutions as soon as possible.