More than 3 million men and women in the United States receive a diagnosis of skin cancer annually, making it the most common type of cancer in our country by far.
The good news is most skin cancer is also highly treatable, especially when diagnosed early. For the most common forms of skin cancers, the gold standard treatment is an extremely technical procedure called Mohs surgery.
At Manhattan Dermatology, with three convenient locations in New York City, our fellowship-trained dermatologists have performed hundreds of Mohs surgeries, and offer the following overview on what you can expect.
Mohs surgery overview
The goal of Mohs surgery is to remove all of your skin cancer while preserving all surrounding skin.
Performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthetic, the Mohs technique entails removing one thin layer of skin and immediately examining it under a microscope. If cancer is present in the extracted sample, another thin layer of skin is removed and examined. This procedure is repeated until the sample is cancer-free.
Mohs surgery can take most of the day, as you wait for each layer of skin to be examined. We recommend our patients come prepared with reading material and snacks.
Most importantly, Mohs surgery is extremely effective; your skin cancer is unlikely to return. The other major benefit is that there is minimal to no scarring is associated with Mohs surgery. This especially desirable because skin cancer is most often found on highly visible areas such as the face and hands.
Am I a candidate?
Mohs surgery is the go-to treatment for patients who have Basal or Squamous Cell Skin Cancer, which are both known as non-melanoma skin cancers, and comprise the overwhelming majority of skin cancer cases.
These cancers are most commonly found in areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, and arms, although they can be found elsewhere too.
Be sure to check your own moles and freckles regularly for any signs of change. And, if you are at an increased risk of skin cancer – which means you have reduced immunity, have had skin cancer previously or have a history of skin cancer in your family – also get your skin checked regularly by a board-certified dermatologist.
For skin cancer and all of your dermatology needs, call or book a consultation online with Manhattan Dermatology.