Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. This disease most usually develops from overexposure to UV rays and sunlight. This year alone, over 100,000 people will be diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States. The statistics are jarring, but thankfully, skin cancer is preventable and, even better, treatable with Mohs surgery. Doctors across the country recognize this treatment as the single most effective technique for removing the most common skin cancers, Basal Cell Carcinomas and Squamous Cell Carcinomas. This procedure’s objection is purely to discard cancer while maintaining as much of the skin as possible. If you have skin cancer, this may be the treatment for you.
Despite this surgery being widely used and acknowledged by doctors, not all dermatologists are certified to perform it. Our office is only one of the two on the entire Gulf Coast to offer this advanced treatment as Dr. Lewis is one of very few physicians in the Southeast that is qualified to perform the surgery.
Why is Mohs certification so important?
This procedure is specialized by dermatologists. Proper medical training and knowledge are necessary for doctors to be able to perform this technically advanced surgery proficiently. This is why it is recommended that you visit a dermatologist who is certified in this procedure if you are experiencing skin cancer.
How does the procedure work?
The reason for the technique’s success is its simple elegance. Mohs differs from other methods in that microscopic examination of all excised tissues occurs during rather than after the surgery, thereby eliminating the need to “estimate” how far out or deep the skin cancer’s roots go. This allows the Mohs surgeon to remove all cancer cells while sparing as much normal tissue as possible. The procedure entails removing one thin layer of tissue at a time; as each layer is removed, its margins are studied under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells. If the margins are cancer-free, the surgery is ended. If not, more tissue is removed from the margin where the cancer cells were found, and the procedure is repeated until all the margins of the final tissue sample examined are clear of cancer. In this way, Mohs surgery eliminates the guesswork in skin cancer removal, producing the best therapeutic and cosmetic results.
Why is it more popular than other surgeries?
Mohs surgery accomplishes the nifty trick of sparing the greatest amount of healthy tissue while also most completely expunging cancer cells; cure rates for BCC and SCC are an unparalleled 98 percent or higher with Mohs, significantly better than the rates for standard excision or any other accepted method. Because this procedure allows the doctor to examine the skin as each layer is removed, patients do not have multiple visits for the removal of their skin cancer. Doctors are able to remove all the cancerous skin at one time.
At least one out of every five people will develop skin cancer before they reach 70. This is why advances in treatments and reliable surgeries such as Mohs are so important today more than ever. Mohs surgery treats a variety of skin cancers while retaining as much healthy skin as possible. With the highest cure rate of skin cancer treatments, this surgery is truly a lifesaver. If you are suffering from this disease, you don’t have to. Give us a call to learn more about the procedure and if it’s right for you.