When to Treat Skin Cancer with Mohs Surgery
There are less than one dozen treatment options for skin cancer, each with varying side effects, risks, and success rates. There is one treatment option, however, that comes out on top as the most successful option for skin cancer with minimal risk and minor side effects. We’re talking about Mohs micrographic surgery and it has continually grown in popularity since its inception in 1938. So when should Mohs be considered as a treatment option for you? Let’s begin by understanding what Mohs surgery is and how it works.
What is Mohs Surgery?
Originally developed by Frederic E. Mohs, Mohs surgery is a treatment procedure in which a surgeon cuts away layers of cancer-infected tissue. While the patient waits, the removed tissue is then examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells. If cells are present, the surgeon returns to the patient and cuts away more layers for inspection. This process continues until cancer cells are no longer present in the inspected tissue, meaning the cancer has been completely removed.
This method of completely removing the tissue and double-checking the sample for cancer cells is what helps to give Mohs a 99% success rate, a rate higher than any other skin cancer treatment.
Mohs micrographic surgery is also extremely versatile in that it can treat almost all types of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the two most common skin cancers developed in individuals worldwide. With that being the case, BCC and SCC are also the most common cancers treated by Mohs. Nonetheless, more uncommon skin cancers like melanoma, sebaceous gland carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and actinic keratosis.
Is Mohs surgery for me?
While Mohs is a good option for just about any type of skin cancer, there are certain factors and individual circumstances that will determine if and when Mohs should be your go-to treatment option.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that time is of the essence. Mohs surgery is most effective when the cancer has been detected in its early stages before it has had a chance to spread beyond a surgeon’s reach. This includes spreading to lymph nodes, glands, bone, and even spreading across the body, creating an infected area too large to be cut away.
Having an aggressive tumor makes you a shoo-in for Mohs. These kinds of tumors spread quickly and spread far. Mohs is one of the few treatment options that can completely clear away cancer cells before they do too much damage. Again, detecting skin cancer early and beginning treatment immediately is imperative.
If you’ve tried other skin cancer treatments in the past and they’ve been unsuccessful, now would be a good time to try Mohs. Mohs famously removes all cancer cells, significantly reducing the chances of the cancer coming back. So it is a viable option for patients who want to finally put a stop to their recurring skin cancer.
These are just a few examples of why Mohs surgery is right for you. However, everyone’s circumstances are different, so please only use this as a guide and speak with your physician about your treatment options.
Luckily, if you are in Cincinnati, Ohio or a surrounding city, our experts at The Dermatology Group are ready to provide you with advice, resources and treatment options. Do not hesitate, give us a call today!