Non-surgical Skin Cancer Treatments

Not all skin cancer requires surgery. If diagnosed early enough certain skin cancers may be superficial enough to be treated with non-surgical treatment options. At the Austin Clinic we offer several non-surgical options and the following page will give you an overview of each treatment but you will need a consultation with your doctor to determine whether any of these treatments are suitable for you.

Available Treatments

At the Austin Clinic we always try to give our patients the option with the best cosmetic outcome. Often non-surgical treatments can have less scarring than surgical treatment options. Unfortunately not all skin cancers are suitable for non-surgical treatment. The Austin Clinic offers the following non-surgical treatment options:

  • Photodynamic Therapy or PDT
  • Cryotherapy
  • Topical Treatments

Non-surgical treatment options are often used for pre-cancerous lesions or superficial skin cancers.

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic Therapy or PDT is a light therapy using a photosensitizer called 5-ALA to treat certain pre-cancerous lesions or superficial skin cancers such as Actinic Keratosis, Solar Keratosis, Basel Cell Carcinomas (BCCs) or Bowens Disease. When exposed to a red and blue light program with our Clairderm PhotonSmart, the ALA is absorbed by the abnormal skin cells and effectively neutralized. This process does not harm any cells apart from the targeted area. In fact the PhotonSmart actually has a rejuvenating effect! There is less chance of scarring with PDT, which is why it is often preferable to use on the face or other sensitive areas if the lesion is suitable.


Cryotherapy, more commonly know as Liquid Nitrogen, is used to ‘freeze’ certain warts, benign skin lesions, pre-cancerous skin lesions and certain cancerous skin lesions. It is very quick and the healing time is minimal however often lesions will need more than one treatment this way. Our doctors will do their utmost to give you the best cosmetic outcome possible but sometimes Cryotherapy can leave small white marks on the skin.

Topical Treatments

Topical treatments like Effudix or Aldara may be an option for you if you have certain superficial skin cancers. While these can be more cost effective than PDT, they do require treatment continually over several weeks. This not only doubles the healing time but also the amount of time that the area will stay irritated, for this reason PDT is often preferable but the success rate with topical treatments can be just as high.

If you are worried about a particular lesion book a skin check with your doctor and if that lesion does need treatment they can discuss whether these options are suitable for you.