Know the Facts
Now that you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, you probably have several questions:
- Am I in serious danger? How did this happen? What treatment options do I have? You are not alone. One in nine people in the United States, a total of 1.2 million, are diagnosed with skin cancer each year and most likely have these same questions. It is crucial to be an active participant in your treatment and when considering your options, it is important to recognize a skin cancer that is visible to you — or even the physician — may just be the tip of the iceberg. Our surgeons can help you decide which treatment is best for your particular diagnosis.
- Various treatments for skin cancer include scraping and burning, routine excision, radiation, and in some cases, the use of a cream. While these remedies might be effective in some cancers, they have a higher potential of leaving cancerous cells behind, making it necessary for the lesions to be removed again. In fact, these other treatment modalities have a 10 to 15 times higher rate of recurrence when compared to Mohs surgery.
Mohs Skin Cancer Surgery
Mohs micrographic surgery is a process that removes all of cancer, minimizes the risk of recurrence, and leaves as little scarring as possible. Mohs is the most effective treatment for most types of cancer to date with a cure rate of up to 99% for skin cancer.
- Our Mohs micrographic surgeries are performed in our comfortable, state-of-the-art surgical suite on an outpatient basis with local anesthetic. Because the procedure does take a few hours depending on the lesion, we encourage patients to bring a book, crossword puzzle, etc.
- The healing process with the Mohs procedure is quick, with minimal discomfort and the greatest preservation of normal tissue, producing the best cosmetic results possible.
- By removing the smallest amount of healthy tissue, it also offers superior cosmetic results.
American College of Mohs Surgery surgeons have extensive training in reconstructive surgery and are generally able to perform the reconstructive surgery immediately after microscopic analysis confirms cancer has been completely removed.
What to Expect
Mohs surgery is performed in stages. During the first stage, the area is numbed with a local anesthetic, then the surgeon removes only the visible tumor with a small margin of healthy appearing tissue. A temporary pressure bandage will be placed on the wound, and the patient will be escorted to a private surgical waiting area. Meanwhile, the physician will prepare the tissue for examination under the microscope to determine if any of the tumor remains. This process usually takes anywhere from one to two hours.