According to the American Cancer Society, around 5.4 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed yearly. The occurrence of these types of cancers has been increasing. However, it’s relatively rare for people to die from them.
With locations across Arizona, A to Z Dermatology’s team of talented providers offers Mohs surgery, a straightforward and effective treatment for certain types of cancer which saves many lives each year. In this post, we describe the treatment and what you can expect.
Most of the time, Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means you don’t need to stay in the hospital overnight. It usually lasts a few hours.
When you arrive at the clinic, we may ask you to put on a gown depending on where your mole is. Our team then thoroughly cleans the area and gives you an anesthetic to ensure you’re comfortable during the procedure.
Next, your surgeon removes the mole with a scalpel, along with a thin layer of skin from underneath the mole. Then we bandage the area and the skin sample goes to the lab for analysis.
If the skin sample shows there’s still cancer, your surgeon removes another layer of skin. This process continues until the analysis shows that the skin sample doesn’t contain cancerous cells. This method allows us to leave as much healthy tissue as possible.
A major benefit of Mohs surgery is that it eliminates cancerous cells but preserves healthy ones. It can help stop cancer from returning and may mean you don’t need future treatments.
Three methods of mending the wound exist. The most appropriate one depends on how much tissue your surgeon removed during your procedure. The wound may be small and allowed to heal on its own. However, some patients may need stitches or a skin graft if a significant amount of skin has been removed.
We give each patient thorough and individual instructions about how to care for their wound. You should be able to return to work the next day, but it’s a good idea to take it easy. Usually, healing takes about four to six weeks.
The goal of Mohs surgery is to leave without cancer. However, you need regular follow-up exams because once you have skin cancer, you have a higher risk of getting it again.
Routine skin evaluations are the most effective way to detect potential problems early. We suggest that people who have had Mohs surgery come in for regular visits at least once a year, but sometimes more often depending on circumstances.
Mohs surgery is an effective and safe treatment. If you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer, schedule your appointment at A to Z Dermatology soon so you can leave cancer-free.