Let’s take a minute to give a round of applause for Frederic E. Mohs. Why? Because this man introduced one of the greatest and most advanced surgical techniques to the world of skin cancer treatment. Aptly named after the general surgeon from Wisconsin in 1938, Mohs surgery is a technique that is used in the treatment of various forms of skin cancer.
The purpose of Mohs surgery is to completely remove cancer cells from a particular area of the body. In order to ensure this, a surgeon surgically removes a layer of skin tissue with a scalpel. That tissue is immediately examined under a microscope and evaluated for cancer cells. If cancer cells are present, the surgeon returns to the patient and removes another layer of tissue to be examined. This process continues until there are no longer any cancer cells visible in the sample. With this form of surgery, instead of returning home and waiting for the results to come in days later, the patient stays in the surgery room as the tissue is being examined.
1) Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
This is the most common form of skin cancer. BCC begins its growth on the top layer of the skin. It grows very slowly and hardly ever spreads beyond the initial affected area. These two factors make BCC an ideal candidate for Mohs surgery. Surgeons can easily remove the infected layers without concern of possible growth or spreading.
2) Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
SCC is the second most common type of skin cancer, second only to BCC. SCC is typically caused by an over-exposure to UV rays. This includes natural sunlight as well as tanning beds. SCC also begins on the top layer of the skin and grows slowly. However, it is one of the few skin conditions that can spread to tissue, lymph nodes, and even bones. Mohs surgery can be applied during the early stages of SCC in which the cancer is still only affecting the skin.
Melanoma may not be the most common skin cancer, but it is the most popular and most serious form of skin cancer. Melanoma is the production of cancer in the cells that produce melanin. These cells are responsible for our pigmentation. Like SCC, melanoma is thought to be caused by overexposure to UV rays. This is merely a theory; the true cause of melanoma is unknown. Though melanoma does spread to other areas of the body, it can be detected early enough for treatment, thus limiting the possibility of spreading.
This is where Mohs surgery comes in. In the event of early detection, Mohs surgery can be a viable option for treatment. The cancer cells will be removed layer by layer before it has had a chance to seize any other part of the body. If the cancer has progressed to the point beyond smaller sections a more vigorous treatment may be required.
There are other, more rare skin cancers that can be treated with Mohs surgery. These include:
As you can see, Mohs surgery can offer complete and total recovery when treated as soon as possible, with a cure rate of over 98%.
If you believe you are a good candidate for Moh surgery and are in the greater Ohio area, reach out to our experts at The Dermatology Group to get advice, resources, and possible treatment. Call us today.