Young woman's back being examined at a dermatologists Dr.Bryan Selkin
By Dr. Bryan Selkin | Mohs Aug 10, 2018

The Gold Standard Treatment for Skin Cancer: Mohs Surgery

More patients are diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma (BCC) than any other type of skin cancer. At almost 3 million diagnoses annually (and climbing), these patients thankfully have hope in the form of Mohs Micrographic Surgery. In fact, this type of surgery is considered the preferred way to treat basal cell carcinoma when sparing of tissue is a consideration or if the lesion is a certain size and on the face.

About BCCs

This type of cancer gets its name from the basal cells. BCCs originate from the cells that produce new cells as the old ones die.

BCCs can often appear as waxy bumps. These bumps may bleed or crust over. If you notice brown or flesh-colored patches, these can be red flags for BCCs, too. While rare, a white and waxy scar can also be a presenting sign of BCC.

Though BCC is not known to spread beyond the original tumor site often, it can happen. BCCs are also known to be quite disfiguring if they are not treated properly and promptly because they can invade into local structures.

About BCC treatment

The tumor may be scraped and burned off. Tumors may be cut out or even destroyed by freezing. Laser and light therapies are options for some types of small or superficial lesions. Radiation, and topical and oral medications round out potential treatment options.

However, the highest cure rate for BCCs comes from Mohs Micrographic Surgery. At least 99 percent of basal cell carcinomas may be cured with this approach. The cure rates for other treatments listed here range from around 70 to 90 percent for Photodynamic Therapy to a reported 90 percent and 95 percent for radiation, and curettage and electrodesiccation (shaving and burning) respectively.

The Center for Dermatology and Cosmetic Laser Surgery’s in-house Mohs micrographic surgeon, Dr. Nicholas Snavely, removes a thin layer of tissue containing the carcinoma. As you wait in the comfort of our office, this excised layer is examined under a microscope. If cancer cells are present, the procedure is repeated. The process of excising and examining will be repeated until the sample is cancer-free. This way, you know by the time you leave that the margins are clear and the cancer is considered treated!

In addition to precisely removing cancerous tissue, Mohs can save the most amount of healthy tissue. This feature makes Mohs skin cancer surgery a particularly attractive option for patients in Plano with areas in highly-visible parts of the face and body, or for those cancers that have recurred or have poorly-defined borders.

To find out more about your options for treatment, call 972-985-9003 to schedule an appointment.

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