Although non-surgical options, such as photodynamic therapy or brachytherapy, are suitable for some skin cancers, surgery is still sometimes the preferred option.
Reasons why surgery might be preferred:
Developed by Dr. Frederick Mohs in the 1930s, Mohs micrographic surgery has stood the test of time. It has been embraced over the past decade by an increasing number of surgeons for treatment of a variety of skin cancers. Today, Mohs surgery is commonly accepted as one of the most effective techniques for removing the two most common types of skin cancer – Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC).
In a Mohs procedure at Advanced Skin Care in Fullerton, our surgeon removes one thin layer of tissue at a time. After each layer is removed, the margins are examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells. If there are no cancer cells in the margins, the surgery is ended. If there are cancer cells, another layer of tissue is removed from the margin where cancer cells were present. This process is repeated until all of the margins in the final tissue sample are cancer-free. There is no guesswork in Mohs surgery cancer removal, and therefore, it produces excellent therapeutic and cosmetic results.
Mohs surgery is the treatment of choice with the highest success rate for removing the most common skin cancers, BCC and SCC. It is also appropriate for less common skin cancers, including dermatofibrosarcoma , Merkel cell carcinoma, extramammary Paget’s disease, microcystic adnexal carcinoma, and sebaceous carcinoma, as stated by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
The use of Mohs surgery to treat melanoma is evolving, but still a new procedure. In the past, Mohs was not used to treat melanoma because the pigment cells where melanoma can develop (atypical Melanocytes) were difficult to assess with frozen sections. Now, special stains known as immunostains allow Mohs surgeons to see residual tumors that may not have been visible with other types of stains. Recently, pathologists and select Mohs surgeons have been using these special stains to diagnose and treat melanoma.
Our skilled physicians at Advanced Skin Care, Dermatology, and Plastic Surgery serve Fullerton, Newport Beach, and Brentwood with Mohs surgery procedures to treat a variety of skin cancers. We recommend regular exams for early detection and better functional and cosmetic outcomes.