Chemotherapy uses drugs to kills cancer cells or stop them from dividing. Chemotherapy given for skin cancer may be injected into a vein (systemic) or applied directly on the skin (topical).
Chemotherapy is not usually given for basal cell skin cancers since they rarely spread to other parts of the body. However, some thin basal cell skin cancer may be treated with a topical chemotherapy.
Squamous cell skin cancers that spread to lymph nodes or other organs may be treated with systemic chemotherapy. This type of treatment may help slow the spread of the cancer or shrink the tumor before surgery or radiation therapy.
Medical oncologists at Fox Chase Cancer Center coordinate chemotherapy and other system treatment options for patients with skin cancer.