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Skin cancer treatment less invasive

Estimated 500,000 people are diagnosed with two common forms of skin cancer

Every year in this country, an estimated 500,000 people are diagnosed with two of the most common forms of skin cancer.

There is a new, less invasive way some doctors are approaching treatment

Fair-skinned and Southern-born, Susan Hesse is at high risk for skin cancer.

“I got precancerous moles in my later years. (I) didn't have them when I was younger (but) two, three years ago (I) had my first,” Hesse said.

Susan was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, which combined with basal cell carcinoma are the most common forms of skin cancer.

“They usually rise to the top layer of the skin and typically do not invade and spread through the body; however, they still can have significant impact on a person's life,” Dr.  Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, a dermatologist, said.

That's because the typical form of removal is surgical excision, which can lead to significant scarring.

That's why Blyumin-Karasik is giving patients another option that uses a pulse dye laser to remove cancer

Blyumin-Karasik said studies have shown the laser to be successful in cutting off the blood supply to the cancer.

“Seventy-five percent of the patients who underwent pulse dye laser treatment had a success rate of removing these cancers,” Blyumin-Karasik said.

Hesse chose the laser to avoid the risk of surgical scarring. The treatments were virtually painless and most importantly, effective.

Hesse said if need be, she'll do the procedure again.

“If I can do the procedure and have the mole taken care of by laser, I’m going to choose laser,” Hesse said.

While pulse dye lasers are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of broken blood vessels and capillaries, using them to treat squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma's is considered "off-label" Doctors are using it, though, and the results are good.

The laser cannot be used to treat melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.