You may have just been diagnosed with skin cancer and your surgeon has recommended that you undergo a cancer surgery called Mohs Surgery. You may have already heard of other types of treatments such as cryosurgery (freezing), wide excision, ED&C (scraping/burning) or even laser removal, but why does your skin cancer require Mohs surgery instead? How does the doctor determine what type of skin cancer removal surgery is necessary?
What Is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery originally developed in the 1930s and has been refined over the years to be the most advanced, precise, and effective treatment for removal of skin cancer. In Mohs surgery, the physician removes the skin cancer layer by layer, examining each layer under a microscope, until the tissue is healthy and cancer free. There is no guessing how much of the surrounding tissue to remove because the cancer is removed until no signs of the cancer cells remain. Compare this with cryosurgery, excision, and laser treatments, where the surgeon has to estimate how extensively to treat the area around the tumor, and you will quickly see why Mohs surgery has the highest cure rate of all treatments.
When Is Mohs Surgery Required to Treat Skin Cancer?
There are many instances in which Mohs surgery is the recommended treatment. These are some, but not all of the times that Mohs surgery is used:
If your skin cancer is in an area where it is important to preserve the maximum amount of healthy tissue for the best function and/or best cosmetic look. An example of this would be on the face where the surgeon desires to leave the least amount of scarring as is possible.
If the area was previously treated by another method, but the cancer returned.
If the skin cancer is large in size (over 2cm).
If the skin cancer does not have clearly defined edges making it difficult to tell where it ends with the naked eye.
If the skin cancer is growing rapidly or uncontrollably.
One of the biggest advantages of the Mohs surgery technique is that the surgeon can ensure that all of the cancer is completely removed at the time of the procedure because each layer is examined under a microscope until every trace of cancer cells is gone. This precise and thorough method brings great comfort to patients knowing that all cancer cells will be removed. In addition to the precision of this method, the patient will also minimize the removal of healthy tissue. This ensures the best cosmetic outcome and maximum function in the treatment area. In cases needing repair, the mohs surgeon will also repair the site at the time that the cancer is removed, saving the patient the hassle of returning for closure of the treatment site.
Take The Next Step
It is clear to see why Mohs surgery is the most advanced and precise skin cancer removal treatment in the surgeon’s repertoire. If your skin cancer requires Mohs surgery, you can feel confident that you will have the very best and most precise treatment for your cancer. If you have further questions, Dr. Christopher Weyer would love to sit down with you for a complimentary consultation at Dermatology and Plastic Surgery of Arizona. You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Weyer by calling his Tucson office at 520-207-3100 or his Sierra Vista location at 520-458-1787. You may also schedule an appointment by completing the form on this page. His offices are conveniently located at 698 East Wetmore, Suite #310 in Tucson, Arizona and 150 South Coronado Drive Suite #110 in Sierra Vista, Arizona.