With summer right around the corner, hotter days are on the horizon and even more of us will be spending our free time outdoors. However, as we enjoy lounging by the pool or going for a run, it is important to remember the impact that the sun has on our skin. Unprotected exposure to harsh UV rays can cause sun damage which leads to skin cancer. If it isn’t caught early, skin cancer can result in severe complications, including death.
The board-certified providers at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta are familiar with the severity and risks associated with undiagnosed skin cancer, which is why we emphasize the importance of undergoing routine skin cancer checks. This means at minimum, you should undergo a check once a year or more often if you have a suspicious spot you are concerned about or a history of skin cancer. We also offer numerous skin cancer treatment options, including the highly-effective Mohs skin cancer surgery which can treat even the most persistent cancers. To help our patients learn more about this revolutionary procedure, we have answered some of the most common questions we hear about the surgery.
What is Mohs Micrographic Skin Cancer Surgery?
Mohs micrographic surgery is a very technical and precise treatment method for skin cancer removal. To begin, one of our board-certified dermatologists will surgically remove the surface tissue affected by the cancer. After that, your surgeon will use a microscope to check the “roots” to find out if the cancer has spread past your already removed tissue or not. If it has, your surgeon will continue to remove skin tissue layer by layer and check them under a microscope until the cancer is completely gone.
How Does Mohs Surgery Compare to Other Skin Cancer Treatments?
Mohs surgery removes skin lesions layer by layer and examines each one with a microscope to check for cancerous cells. Since the “roots” are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye, other treatments don’t examine the tissue until later which can increase the risk of the cancer reoccurring. However, depending on your skin cancer type, your dermatologist may not need such a precise method to remove the cancer.
How Come Mohs Surgery Isn’t Used to Treat All Skin Cancers?
With a 98-99% cure rate, it can be confusing as to why this surgery is only used to treat around 20% of skin cancer cases. Ultimately, Mohs surgery is a surgical procedure that does require more planning and time. There are specific criteria including cancer subtype, location and size that dictate which cancers would be better suited to treatment with Mohs. Because of this, the procedure is typically reserved for those who need it to remove skin cancer on delicate areas like the face.
Does Mohs Surgery Cause Scarring?
Our experienced, board-certified dermatologists who perform this procedure take extra steps to ensure any visible scarring is minimized. Given the method used during surgery, the resulting scar is as small as possible and the incision can normally be closed with sutures. If you are worried about scarring, cosmetic treatments like laser skin resurfacing or chemical peels can be used to improve the appearance of scars after your treatment area heals.
Our board-certified dermatologists and physician assistants are dedicated to our patients health and wellbeing which is why we offer both preventive and remedial skin cancer treatment options. To learn more about Mohs surgery or to schedule your annual skincare check, schedule an appointment with Dermatology Associates of Atlanta today. Also, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more skincare insights and monthly specials