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Why Mohs Surgery is a Game Changer for Skin Cancer

Why Mohs Surgery is a Game Changer for Skin Cancer

By age 70, one in five Americans develops skin cancer. Of all types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the two most common types in the United States.

Receiving a skin cancer diagnosis can be scary, but skin cancer treatment is very effective, especially when the cancer is identified in the early stages. One of the most common — and most effective — treatments for BCC and SCC is Mohs surgery.

In fact, Mohs surgery is a game changer for treating skin cancer. It boasts a 99% cure rate for skin cancer that hasn’t been treated before, and a 94% cure rate for skin cancer that has recurred after previous treatment. Oswald Mikell, MD, is proud to offer this specialized surgery at Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry.

The basics of Mohs surgery

Mohs surgery is a surgical technique to treat skin cancer. It was developed by Frederic E. Mohs, MD, in the late 1930s, and it began gaining popularity in the 1960s. Today, it’s the most effective method of treating common skin cancers, including BCC and SCC.

Mohs surgery is unique, because a large portion of tissue isn’t removed in one fell swoop. Instead, one thin layer is removed. Then, while you wait, it’s examined under a microscope for signs of skin cancer. If cancer is present, another thin layer is removed and examined. When a layer is removed that shows no more signs of skin cancer, no more layers are removed.

This allows the surgeon to see exactly where the cancer stops, and it also allows the surgeon to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible. Mohs surgery has a very high success rate, and it’s a low-risk procedure that doesn’t require general anesthesia or long recovery times.

What to expect with Mohs surgery

Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means no hospital stay is required. If you’re diagnosed with BCC or SCC and Dr. Mikell recommends Mohs surgery to treat it, our team gives you detailed instructions to prepare you for your procedure.

Mohs surgery takes place in a single appointment. Dr. Mikell removes each layer of skin and examines them under a microscope at our on-site lab. He removes additional layers until he no longer detects cancer cells, then he closes the surgery site with a cosmetic closure technique to minimize scarring.

Because Mohs surgery removes as little tissue as possible, it’s a particularly effective option for areas that don’t have much excess tissue, such as the face, head, hands, and feet.

Have you been diagnosed with skin cancer? Mohs surgery could be the best treatment to protect your health. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry today.

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