Non-Surgical Treatments

A topical treatment for skin issues

When is non-surgical treatment advised?

Non-surgical skin cancer treatment can be appropriate treatment choices for certain types of superficial skin cancers, especially in locations where surgery may be difficult or in patients where surgical treatment is unsuitable.

Types of non-surgical skin cancer treatment

There are different types of non-surgical treatments, including:


Cryotherapy involves using liquid nitrogen and is commonly used to treat pre-cancerous lesions and some superficial skin cancers. This involves freezing the lesion and a pre-determined margin of normal surrounding skin. Pain, swelling, redness, blistering and scabbing are normally experienced but will heal spontaneously in about 7-14 days (depending on location) with minimal aftercare. Treated skin cancers may take longer to heal – anything from 2 – 4 weeks.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

PDT involves the application of a cream called Metvix (Methyl aminolevulinate) to the affected area/s – which is then covered with a dressing. The cream is left on for 3 hours and during that time Metvix is specifically absorbed by the pre-cancerous or cancerous cells, and converted into a light activated molecule. These become sensitive to a particular wavelength of red light.

When the area is exposed to this light, a reaction is produced at a cellular level to destroy the pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. The damaged cells begin to die, allowing healthy, new skin to form. Your surrounding normal skin cells will not be affected.

Topical treatments

There are a range of creams available on prescription that can help with:

  • Solar keratoses, also known as actinic keratoses or sunspots.
  • Bowen’s disease / Squamous cell cancer in situ (superficial types of squamous cell cancers).
  • Superficial basal cell carcinoma.

Your treating doctor will discuss the pros and cons of each treatment option available to you at the time.

Our Team

Dr Courtney Taylor
MBBS Dr Courtney Taylor is your classic local doctor. Born and raised country WA he studied at both the University of We...
Dr Courtney Taylor
Dr Emily MacDonald
Dr MacDonald has an interest in the management of skin cancer and obtained her Professional Certificate in Skin Cancer M...
Dr Emily MacDonald