Typical answers to questions about Mohs Surgery
Skin cancer is a commonly understood medical condition. However, many people don’t understand just how impactful the condition can be. In fact, 1 in 5 people in the United States will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70, and more than two people die from skin cancer every hour. It’s no wonder that more and more attention is being put on the prevention of skin cancer with protection like sunscreen, long-sleeved shirts, and avoiding the sun’s harmful rays at peak hours. While prevention is critical, it’s also important to remove skin cancer that does arise. The team at Associates in Dermatology in Westlake, Ohio, offers a full suite of skin cancer services from prevention to detection to treatment with procedures such as Mohs surgery.
Skin cancer treatment
Once skin cancer is detected, doctors and patients quickly shift their attention to having it removed. In addition to removing visible cancer, a small amount of healthy skin is also removed to ensure that all the cancerous cells are eliminated. In traditional skin cancer removal, this required that the removed tissue be sent to a laboratory to test the margins and determine if more skin should be removed. In some cases, patients would be required to return to the office for another procedure, repeating the exact same process until the margins were determined to be clear.
Another option with Mohs surgery
Mohs surgery is an advanced treatment that progressively removes fine amounts of skin and examines them immediately to determine if cancerous cells are present. Once the doctors are sure that all of the cancerous cells have been removed, they stop removing the skin. This method allows doctors to leave as much healthy tissue as possible and gives patients the confidence to know that their cancer has been completely removed.
Mohs surgery is commonly used on basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. It can also be used to treat some types of melanoma. The treatment is effective for patients who have:
- Experienced a recurrence after previous skin cancer treatment or for those who have a higher risk of the cancer coming back.
- Skin cancer that is located in a visible or delicate area of the body, such as the face
- Lesions that have ragged edges
- Skin cancer that is spreading fast
Preparing for surgery
Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure that is typically performed right in the doctor’s office. To prepare for the surgery, the Associates in Dermatology team recommends the following:
- Share a list of your current medications with your doctor. Some medications can weaken the body’s healing process or cause you to bleed more. Your doctor needs to know if you’re taking these medications.
- Dress comfortably. Your doctor will need access to the treatment area. Clothes that are comfortable and fit loosely are important so that you remain comfortable and so they don’t rub against the treated area following the procedure.
- Bring something to do. A book, magazine, or iPad will help you pass the time while waiting for the cells to be examined.