Mohs Surgery: The Gold Standard in Skin Cancer Treatment

Mohs surgery

Every year in the United States, more than 3 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer. While there’s little comfort to be found in the safety of numbers when it comes to cancer, there is a bright light in all of this — Mohs surgery, which offers a 99% success rate in eradicating the insidious disease.

Here at Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center, we provide our patients in Fayetteville, Bentonville, and Harrison, Arkansas, with a comprehensive suite of skin cancer services, including the incredibly successful Mohs surgery. But this highly technical procedure should be performed only by fellowship-trained surgeons and, of the three in the region, we have two, and they head up our practice: Dr. Lance Henry and Dr. Joseph Blackmon.

Take a moment to explore why Mohs surgery is the gold standard in skin cancer treatment and why it should be done only by those who are specifically trained in the procedure.

A look at Mohs surgery

If you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer, what you see on the surface of your skin is usually just the tip of the iceberg. With this in mind, many doctors have taken a scorched-earth policy to eradicating skin cancer, which means they aggressively excise the cancer, as well as a large margin of healthy tissue around the lesion to be on the safe side.

On the other end of the spectrum are treatments that aren’t aggressive enough, such as topical creams.

Ultimately, while these skin cancer treatment protocols can be effective, cancer recurs 10-15 time more often after them than after Mohs surgery because those other approaches don’t successfully remove all of the cancer. Not to mention, they can create considerable collateral tissue damage.

Mohs surgery provides the perfect solution for removing basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) because it accomplishes three things:

When Drs. Henry and Blackmon put their rigorous fellowship training and experience to work in removing your cancer, they do it in stages. First, they remove a layer of your skin, and then they examine it under the microscope. When they identify where the cancer is in the tissue, they go back and remove another layer from that area alone and examine it again.

They continue this thorough and detailed microsurgery, constantly narrowing the field, until the microscope shows only healthy cells. Once they’re done, they reconstruct the area with an eye toward an aesthetically-pleasing outcome.

This incredibly targeted and precise technique is labor-intensive and requires considerable expertise. But you can’t argue with the results: The cure rates with Mohs surgery are as high as 99 percent for primary cancers and 95 percent for recurrent cancers.

The importance of choosing a fellowship-trained doctor for the job

Because of the detail and expertise required to perform Mohs surgery, it’s important that you seek skin cancer treatment from a doctor who has the training and experience necessary — and that means fellowship training. At Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center, we have two of only three fellowship-trained Mohs micrographic surgeons in Northwest Arkansas.

Both Dr. Henry and Dr. Blackmon completed a highly selective and rigorous one-year fellowship in micrographic surgery and dermatological oncology and are active members in the American College of Mohs Surgery. They were both trained by some of the best Mohs surgeons in the country and have acquired the skills and experience necessary to treat complex skin cancers and perform reconstruction, often on the same day under local anesthesia.

Together, Drs. Henry and Blackmon have treated over 20,000 cancer patients with the Mohs technique, making them the most experienced skin cancer surgeons in the region. Being fellowship-trained in Mohs surgery is an important benefit to our patients, as not all dermatologists performing Mohs surgery have had this extensive level of education and the amount of experience our surgeons have.

We encourage you to visit www.mohscollege.org to find out more about why it’s important to choose a fellowship-trained surgeon. You can also call us to schedule a consultation or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.

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