Skin Cancer Surgery and Mohs Surgery
1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer in the United States. There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
A majority of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with the ultraviolet radiation from sun rays. Sun protection is therefore the first line of defense against skin cancer.
When caught early and treated properly, skin cancer is highly curable.
The first step is having a board certified dermatologist take a close look at your skin. Any “skin spots” which have been changing in size, shape, or color should be brought to your doctor’s attention. Suspicious lesions are biopsied and a pathologist weighs in the type of cells within the specimen and if a cancer is detected.
A number of treatments are available, including traditional surgery, scraping and burning, freezing, radiation, topical medications, and advanced Mohs micrographic surgery.
Mohs micrographic surgery:
Mohs micrographic surgery is an advanced treatment for certain types of skin cancer. This revolutionary treatment offers the highest potential for a cure, while also minimizing the cosmetic impact of treatment.
Mohs Surgery is named after Dr. Frederic Mohs, a surgeon who developed the technique in the late 1930s. Skin cancers are removed one layer at a time. . After each specimen is removed, it is examined by the Mohs surgeon under a microscope to determine whether cancer remains in the skin, and to precisely map any remaining cancer. If any cancer is left behind, the Mohs surgeon knows exactly where the additional tissue needs to be removed. Because of the precise microscopic mapping technique, only the diseased tissue is removed, thus sparing as much of the normal skin as possible.
Also, watch for the “ABCDEs” of Melanoma.
The ABCDEs of Melanoma
- A is for Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half.
- B is for Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
- C is for Color that varies from one area to another.
- D is for Diameter: While melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller.
- E is for Evolving: A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.