Mohs micrographic surgery is a widely performed surgical dermatology procedure. In fact, it's used as a treatment for several common types of cancer. Read on to learn more.
Basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common types of skin cancer. As its name suggests, it begins in basal cells, which are a type of cell within the skin that produce new cells as old ones die and slough off. More often than not, basal cell carcinoma develops on parts of your skin that have been overexposed to the sun. Common locations for basal cell carcinoma include the head and neck. Basal cell carcinoma can take several different forms. It can look like a pearly or skin colored bump, a black or blue lesion, a scaly red patch of skin, or even a waxy, scar-like mark. Basal cell carcinoma is often the easiest cancer to detect, as it causes growth and changes in moles on the skin. With early detection, Mohs is one of the most effective treatments for this particular type of skin cancer. In addition, basal cell carcinoma typically has a well-defined border that makes this technique quite efficient.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. Similarly to basal cell carcinoma, this type of skin cancer is typically found on sun-damaged areas of the body. It's a slow-growing skin cancer, but it can spread to other areas of the body, including internal organs and lymph nodes. Early detection is key to treating squamous cell carcinoma effectively. If you have a history of frequent sunburns or use of tanning beds, you could be more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma. This type of skin cancer typically begins as a dome-shaped bump on the skin or a red, scaly patch of skin. Regular skin cancer screenings are the best way to catch this cancer early. Mohs is commonly used as a treatment for this cancer because there's a high chance that it could occur again post-treatment.
Melanoma, while less common than both basal and squamous cell carcinoma, is one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer. The reason for this is that melanoma has the ability to spread rapidly throughout the body to other organs if it's not detected early enough. Melanoma can present in several different ways, which can make early detection challenging if you're not vigilant. Regular skin cancer screenings are absolutely key to catching melanoma early on. Mohs is particularly effective at treating aggressive cancers like melanoma because of the practice of systematically removing cancerous tissue from the surgical site until only healthy tissue remains. For cancers with ill-defined borders like melanoma, this treatment method is ideal.
Undergoing Mohs micrographic surgery requires careful assessment, both from you and from your dermatologist. If you have more questions or want to know if Mohs surgery is right for you, don't hesitate to set up an appointment with a member of our team at North Pacific Dermatology today.