If you have recently been diagnosed with skin cancer, this does not mean it's time to panic. While you may have many questions to ask your dermatologist, it's important to remember that both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma have high cure rates when treated with Mohs surgery. This is a technique that was first started by Dr. Frederick Mohs, back in the 30s, and it is now coming back into popularity as one of the most effective treatments for the two most common types of skin cancer found today.
How Mohs Surgery Works
Mohs surgery is used on patients who are dealing with non-melanoma cancers. While advanced melanoma is the most commonly talked about skin cancer, the treatment for melanoma is serious medications and chemotherapy. Mohs surgery removes the non-melanoma cancer, one layer at a time. It is different than simply removing cancerous skin cells, as after each layer is removed, lab work is done to determine if the skin removed is healthy. The goal of the surgery is to remove the least amount of healthy tissue as possible, to allow for faster, more complete healing without leaving behind any cancer cells.
When Surgery is Completed
As each layer of concerning tissue is removed, your doctor will remove only the smallest sample possible. Once the skin sample is tested and has clear, cancer free margins, it's time for your doctor to stitch up the area. This surgery takes some time, as each sample is sent to the lab for testing and you wait for the results. This is different than a traditional excision, where the doctor would simply remove diseased tissue and wait several days to determine if the margins on the removed sample were clear. This often leads to excessive skin removal, causing the need for skin grafts and further treatment.
Does Mohs Surgery Lead to a Cure?
If you have been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer, your chances of a cure after your first Mohs surgery is 99% . This is due to the fact that the surgery is so precise, and closely investigates each layer of skin to ensure that the entire cancerous tumor has been removed. Even if you need a second Mohs surgery, the procedure is effective at producing a cure 95% of the time. You should avoid prolonged sunlight, with or without non-melanoma skin cancer to reduce your risk of developing this common skin cancer in the first place.
Contact your dermatologist for more information,