Do Lasers or Topicals Really Work for Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers?

Lori Brightman, Melanie Warycha, Robert Anolik, Roy Geronemus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Novel strategies are urgently needed to address the millions of nonmelanoma skin cancers treated in the United States annually. The need is greatest for those patients who are poor surgical candidates or those prone to numerous nonmelanoma skin cancers and therefore at risk for marked disfigurement. Traditional treatment strategies include electrosurgery with curettage, radiation therapy, cryotherapy, excision, and Mohs micrographic surgery. Alternatives to traditional treatment, including topical medications and light or laser therapies, are becoming popular; however, there are various degrees of efficacy among these alternative tactics. These alternatives include topical retinoids, peels, 5-fluorouracil, imiquimod, photodynamic therapy, and lasers. The purpose of this paper is to review the available data regarding these alternative strategies and permit the reader to have a sense of which therapies are reasonable options for care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-25
Number of pages12
JournalSeminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


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