Skin cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed forms of cancer in the United States. Melanoma is its most dangerous form, but the disease is also highly treatable if detected early. If you have skin cancer, you may undergo MOHS surgery to remove it.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer affecting melanocytes or cells that produce skin pigment. This form of cancer usually affects the skin, but it can also develop in the eyes or internal organs. The precise cause of melanoma is not always known, but it typically occurs due to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sun exposure, a tanning bed or a lamp.
The risk of developing melanoma is growing larger among individuals under the age of 40, particularly women. When you know the warning signs of melanoma, you can have a much greater chance of detecting it early when treatment is the most effective.
MOHS surgery takes its name from its developer, Dr. Frederic Mohs. Dr. Mohs developed this skin cancer treatment method in the 1930s, but it has undergone refinement in the years that followed and is considered to be the gold standard of skin cancer treatment today.
Dr. Mohs was one of the first to observe that skin cancer appears as the “tip of an iceberg”, having an outward, visible form that obscures the “roots” growing below. Although they are not visible to the naked eye, they are visible when looking through a microscope.
MOHS surgery is a very sophisticated, precise treatment for skin cancer that involves removing the cancerous tissue one layer at a time. This helps ensure that only cancerous tissue is removed, leaving healthy tissue surrounding the cancer untouched. This means that MOHS surgery patients have a shorter recovery period, since less healthy tissue is affected.
The procedure involves the removal of a section of skin where cancer is suspected. This skin tissue is then marked on its edges and placed on a slide. The tissue is examined under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present. If cancer cells are observed, additional skin tissue layers are excised only in the area of the cancer, leaving healthy skin unharmed. This ensures that as much healthy skin as possible is saved.
MOHS surgery is the gold standard of skin cancer treatment, having the highest success rate. It can be used in most cases of skin cancer and is particularly appropriate for cases involving cancer that has returned after treatment, is found near scar tissue or is large and does not have defined edges.
MOHS surgery is also highly appropriate in cases where healthy tissue needs to be preserved to maintain function and aesthetic appearance. It is used when the cancer is growing rapidly or occurs in lymphoma patients or organ transplant recipients.
During an appointment at Rao Dermatology, you can learn more about MOHS surgery. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office in Hanford, Fresno, Woodbridge, Atlantic Highlands or Manhattan.