More than 1.2 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. If left untreated, this disease can continue to progress. Fortunately, advanced treatment offering the highest potential for cure is available.
Treatments for skin cancer vary from common ones such as scraping and burning, freezing, radiation and routine excision offered by many physicians to Mohs surgery, an advanced surgical technique performed by highly trained specialists.
Mohs micrographic surgery is a state-of-the-art treatment for skin cancer. The physician serves as surgeon, pathologist and reconstructive surgeon. This treatment relies on the precision and accuracy of a microscope to trace and remove all of the skin cancer down to its roots. When compared to other treatments for skin cancer, Mohs micrographic surgery offers the highest cure rate (over 90%), has the lowest chance of re-growth, minimizes the potential for scarring, and is the most exact and precise means of removing skin cancer. Using a proven and universally acclaimed technique that gets to the root of the skin cancer, surgeons trained in Mohs surgery first remove the apparent cancer and then perform an immediate microscopic examination of the tumor and any underlying diseased tissue. This process allows the surgeon to see beyond the visible disease and precisely identify and remove all of the cancer — down to the root. If microscopic analysis still shows evidence of disease, the removal process continues layer-by-layer until the cancer is all gone. This technique ensures that only the diseased tissue is removed, while preserving the healthy, normal tissue.
Mohs surgeons are dermatologists with extensive knowledge and training in the field of skin and its healing properties. They are also well trained in reconstructive surgery and can perform any necessary reconstructive procedure at the time of surgery. Mohs micrographic surgery is effective for most types of skin cancer. Our dermatologists can advise you if Mohs surgery is appropriate for you. Generally, Mohs surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, under local anesthesia.
The ABCDEs of melanoma skin cancer are:
- Asymmetry. One half doesn’t match the appearance of the other half.
- Border irregularity. The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
- Color. The color (pigmentation) is not uniform. Shades of tan, brown, and black are present. Dashes of red, white, and blue add to a mottled appearance.
- Diameter. The size of the mole is greater than 1/4 inch (6 mm), about the size of a pencil eraser. Any growth of a mole should be evaluated.
- Evolution. There is a change in the size, shape, symptoms (such as itching or tenderness), surface (especially bleeding), or color of a mole.