Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer

Cancer can be a scary word. But when it comes to skin cancer, it’s not a diagnosis most of us will avoid. Unprotected exposure to UV rays, whether across a lifetime or in concentrated doses, raises the odds that 1 in 5 of us will develop skin cancer at some point. “I’ve got skin cancer, I need Mohs surgery,” is not an uncommon topic of conversation.

Most of us think of melanoma when we hear “skin cancer.” It’s the form of skin cancer with the deadliest potential to metastasize, or spread, to other organs. But non-melanoma skin cancers such as squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas are even more common, and can be painful and disfiguring.

The good news on the skin cancer front is that, in all its forms, skin cancer is almost entirely preventable. (That’s why we nag about using sunscreen and practicing other UV protection techniques on a daily basis.) There have also been great advances in the treatment of skin cancer, especially with early detection. (That’s why we urge you to schedule an annual full-body skin check–more often, if you are at higher risk–and remind you to familiarize yourself with the early signs of skin cancer.) With techniques like PDT (photodynamic therapy), for example, we can address pre-cancerous lesions (known as actinic keratoses) before they have a chance to develop into full-blown skin cancers.

So You’ve Been Diagnosed

If you have received a diagnosis of non-melanoma skin cancer, you will most likely be recommended for Mohs micrographic surgery, the most successful technique for removing skin cancer while preserving surrounding healthy tissue. The surgery involves taking very thin excisions of tissue and using a microscope to check each excision for cancer cells under a microscope. When an excision shows no cancer, the surgery is complete.

Mohs micrographic surgery is particularly suited for excising skin cancers from the face, hands, and other areas where deep scarring is undesirable. When many layers must be excised to ensure no cancer cells remain, a Mohs micrographic surgeon can perform Mohs reconstruction, using plastic surgery techniques to restore the function, shape, contour, and appearance of the area where the Mohs surgery was performed.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery at Comprehensive Dermatology of Pasadena

Our Dr. Han Lee has performed hundreds of Mohs micrographic surgeries and is an expert in Mohs reconstruction. Mohs surgeries are performed here in the comfort of our office, with Mohs reconstruction usually done at the same time. Click here to learn more, to view a video of Dr. Lee conducting Mohs micrographic surgery, and to download a patient brochure on the procedure.

Skin cancer can be scary. But we’re here to help you prevent, diagnose, and treat it–for a healthy, beautiful, no-fears future. Call or email us today to schedule your full-body skin check or to assess any changes in your skin.

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