A promising new treatment for basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, may provide an alternative to surgery, according to a new study.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of cancer with rates rising as much as 10 percent a year, according to reports.

A new study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology looked at the effectiveness of the topical skin cream imiquimod in treating low-risk basal cell carcinoma lesions over a five-year period by boosting the body’s immune response.

Up to this point, the leading treatment for basal cell carcinoma was excision or Mohs surgery requiring a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

This study is a continuation of a previous study that followed a group of basal cell carcinoma patients being treated with imiquimod for three years.