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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2011 August;146(4):249-55

Copyright © 2011 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Advanced cancer of the extremities treated by cryosurgery

Almeida Gonçalves J. C. 1, 2

Department of Dermatology Portuguese Institute of Oncology, Lisbon, Portugal; Department of Dermatology, District Hospital, Santarém, Portugal


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AIM:Cryosurgery with liquid nitrogen (LN) is a safe and effective method to treat skin cancer. With the correct protocol, its efficacy is extended to advanced and inoperable tumors. The aim of this study was to report the author’s experience in the treatment of advanced squamous-cell carcinomas of the extremities.
METHODS: Forty-eight patients (31 women and 17 men; mean age of 79 years) with 50 advanced squamous-cell carcinomas (SCC) of the extremities were treated with open and thick LN spray –two freeze-thaw cycles – reaching a temperature around -50 ºC inside the tumor, but not less than -20 ºC in the tumor limits and the underlying structures. Temperature monitoring was made by thermocouples. All cases in this series were treated by the author.
RESULTS: The overall cure rate was 88%, with follow-up between 1 and 8 years (mean of 2.64 years).
CONCLUSION: This cryosurgical method is an effective treatment for advanced cancers of the extremities, yielding a high cure rate and, in many cases, preventing amputation.

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