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.
In excisional surgery, physicians cut out (excise) the cancerous tissue and a surrounding margin of healthy skin.
Photodynamic therapy or (PDT) destroys skin cancer cells with a combination of laser light and drugs that make cancer cells sensitive to light.
Topical chemotherapy usually comes in the form of a cream or lotion that is placed directly on the skin one or two times a day for several weeks.
Cryosurgery involves the application of liquid nitrogen directly to the skin via an aerosol spray to freeze and destroy the cancerous or pre-cancerous cells.
Laser treatments use focused beams of light to heat and destroy old, damaged skin cells while stimulating the growth of new cells and collagen. This can leave the skin looking younger, fuller and more refreshed. While the results of these procedures are usually permanent, the effects of time, age, and sun damage will continue to affect the skin. Laser and other aesthetic treatments will keep the skin looking younger; maintenance care treatments may be required to maintain the desired results.
Revive, our medical spa offers the following laser treatments:
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.