Mayfield Heights, OH patients ask, “Am I a candidate for Mohs surgery?”
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. It is common, dangerous, and visible. Receiving a skin cancer diagnosis can be scary, but understanding your diagnosis and treatment options can give you peace of mind. When detected and treated early, most skin cancers can be effectively treated and cured. With offices in Mayfield Heights, Akron, and Mentor, OH, the team at Allied Dermatology and Skin Surgery offer skin cancer treatment including Mohs surgery.
Types of skin cancer
Although there are various types of skin cancer each with different levels of severity, there are three common forms. Basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, appears as irregular lesions on the epidermis. Often caused by regular exposure to the sun, these lesions appear to be open sores, red patches, growths, shiny bumps or scars. Also common, squamous cell carcinomas may appear to be open sores, scaly red patches, raised growths with a depression in the middle, or warts. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. This type often appears to be moles or stem from existing moles. When caught early, melanoma is treatable. Untreated, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body.
Although basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are usually not life-threatening, they can both be aggressive. In some cases, if the cancer is not treated, it can spread to nearby tissues. These two cancers are often considered low risk and the cells are clustered in a single group. This formation makes the tumors easier to treat. They can often be removed with surgery.
What is Mohs micrographic surgery?
Performed by a specially trained surgeon, Mohs surgery is a precise procedure to treat skin cancer. It is often performed when a tumor or lesion is in areas where there is little extra skin. This includes the face, ears, hands, feet, and genitalia. Mohs surgery is a method to remove skin cancer and preserve the most normal tissue as possible.
The procedure involves four steps.
- Surgical removal of the visible cancer
- Mapping of the tissue as well as freezing, cutting, and staining the tissue
- Microscopic analysis of the tissue
- Possible reconstruction of the area if needed
Candidates for Mohs surgery
For patients who have been diagnosed with skin cancer in a high-risk area, a dermatologist may recommend Mohs micrographic surgery for skin cancer removal. Due to the precise nature and reconstruction of this surgery, it is especially effective for cancers on the face.
Your dermatologist will determine if Mohs surgery is right for you. Your history of skin cancer, the type of cancer, and the location help determine the most appropriate treatment. Although it is often used for low-risk cancers, Mohs can be used for high-risk or recurring cancers because it has a high cure rate. Candidates may include the following conditions:
- A previous case of basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma with the risk of recurrence
- A tumor that is larger than two centimeters or one that has grown after a previous treatment
- Tumors in locations with little extra skin
Using a local anesthetic and a small scalpel, the surgeon safely removes the visible cancer with only minimal margins. Tissue in the treatment area is removed a layer at a time. Then, it is examined under a microscope to search for cancer cells. If cancerous cells are present, the next layer of tissue is removed. This process repeats until the tissue is cancer free. The Mohs surgeon only removes the necessary tissue. The healthy tissue remains intact. Mohs surgery is a safe, efficient method to excise cancerous tissue. Once the tissue is clear, the area is reconstructed in a cosmetically pleasing way. Patients leave knowing the cancer is gone.
Side effects are minimal. They may include bleeding, tenderness, and discomfort around the surgical site. After the procedure, patients should continue to see a dermatologist regularly to ensure the cancer does not return.
With the lowest recurrence rates, 97-99 percent cure rates, and aesthetically pleasing reconstruction, Mohs micrographic surgery is a great option for skin cancer treatment in high-risk areas. It is a precise, effective method for eliminating most skin cancers.
Contact the team at Allied Dermatology and Skin Surgery to schedule your appointment today. Call 1-866-337-6631 .