Health Tips from a Mother of Three

Is Mohs Surgery The Right Option For You?

If you have skin cancer, then you may be concerned about treatment and a cure. Fortunately there are a variety of treatment options available that are successful. One of these treatments is Mohs surgery, named after the doctor who was first to develop this type of microscopic surgery. This procedure may be a better choice for those who have high-risk skin cancer in difficult to treat areas of the body. Here's more about this procedure to help you make a better decision about whether you should talk to your doctor about having it done.

What is Mohs surgery?

The Mohs skin cancer surgery is a type of localized surgery that is often done with local anesthesia. Basically, it involves taking think layers of the cancerous area at a time and examining the tissue in a microscope. Then, the procedure is repeated until the last layer is found to be cancer free. The area is either stitched or bandaged up and you would be ready to leave the same day. This procedure has a low recurrence rate and is ideal for someone who has large cancers with hard-to-define borders. It's especially suited for tumors in areas with thin skin such as the hands and feet and is also commonly done on the face and neck.

What should be expected during the procedure?

If you decide to have this procedure, be aware that you will need to clear out at least one whole day in your schedule to have it done. Be sure that your doctor knows about any medications or implants you have. You may also have to stop taking certain medications and stop smoking for a certain length of time before the day of the surgery. The procedure is done over several hours while each layer is examined. Bring something to pass the time as the doctor will probably not want you to leave the office until it is determined that all of the cancer has been removed. You should experience little discomfort during or after the procedure depending on how deep the incisions needed to be made.

The Mohs surgery works best with people whose cancer has not spread to other parts of the body. It's also good for those whose skin cancer has been less responsive to other treatments and keeps coming back. Even though there is a low recurrence rate with this type of surgery, you are still at risk of getting it again, so it is still very important that you have regular skin checkups to make sure the cancer hasn't returned. If you would like to find out if this type of treatment will work well for you, talk to your doctor for more information specific to your case.