Skin cancer is on the rise, with more incidents being identified in younger people. There are more than one million cases of skin cancer diagnosed annually and The American Cancer Society estimates that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, which affects at least one million Americans a year. While rarely fatal, it is important to treat early because basal cell carcinomas can grow, ultimately requiring larger-scale surgeries and resulting in larger scars. Squamous cell carcinoma is also common: More than 250,000 cases are diagnosed annually, resulting in about 2,500 deaths.
Both of these carcinomas can be easily treated, and one type of surgery offers patients the best odds. Mohs surgery has the highest cure rate, 99%, for these common types of skin cancer. The main difference between this micrographic surgery and other methods of removing skin lesions is microscopic control. The procedure allows the board certified dermatologic surgeon to precisely remove skin cancers without removing large amounts of normal skin.”
What happens during Mohs surgery?
During this fresh tissue technique, layers of skin containing the skin cancer are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains. Doctors mark the area of clinically recognizable tumor and numb the area to be excised with local anesthetic. The tissue is surgically removed, divided, and marked with reference points on the patient. Specimens are then labeled with dyes that allow the surgeon to correlate the tissue seen on microscopic slides.
Specialized technicians at the surgery site then produce frozen section slides of the removed tissue that is microscopically analyzed by the surgeon. If any tumor remains in the resection tissue, the surgeon knows that the tumor is still in the patient. The patient then returns to the operating room for removal of another thin segment of tissue, which saves the patient from getting a big scar.
Traditional sectioning can sometimes leave “nests” of cancer cells behind, allowing the cancer to remain and grow. With Mohs’ mapping, the cancer would be detected and cured. According to studies by the Mayo Clinic and other institutions, Mohs surgery provides five-year cure rates exceeding 99 percent for new cancers, and 95 percent for recurrent cancers.
When is Mohs the best treatment option?
- When the patient wants/needs to have the smallest scar, highest cure rate and a stress reliever because the results are given the same day.
- The cancer is in an area where it is important to preserve healthy tissue for maximum functional and cosmetic result, such as eyelids, nose, ears, lips, fingers, toes, genitals
- The cancer was treated previously and recurred
- Scar tissue exists in the area of the cancer
- The cancer is large
- The edges of the cancer cannot be clearly defined
- The cancer is growing rapidly or uncontrollably
- When the cancer Is likely to return. Mohs micrographic surgery is more effective in obtaining cancer-free margins for cancers that have irregular borders and a history of removal and recurrence.
- Has a high risk of spreading to other parts of the body, such as in some squamous cell carcinomas.
- When it occurs in children
When Was Your Last Skin Cancer Screening?
Regular skin cancer screenings are important, as skin cancer is easiest to treat in its earlier stages. Contact us today to schedule your skin cancer screening. At Advanced Dermatology, PC, our board-certified dermatologists are experts at diagnosing and treating skin cancer. In addition, our Mohs surgeon is board-certified and has successfully performed many surgeries, with excellent results. Our conveniently located offices welcome patients from Queens (Bayside, Flushing), Long Island – Nassau/Suffolk (Roslyn/Albertson, West Islip, Commack, East Setauket), New York City, Westchester County (Ossining), Bergen County, NJ, Union County, NJ, and all surrounding areas.