If you’re one of the nearly 10,000 Americans each day who learn they have skin cancer, you’ve probably heard about Mohs micrographic surgery. It’s a sophisticated surgical approach that preserves as much healthy tissue as possible while removing all traces of your cancer.
But not all skin cancers are the same. So you may wonder whether the type of cancer you have is eligible for treatment with this surgery.
The good news is that our board-certified dermatologists at Manhattan Dermatology in New York City use Mohs surgery to treat the most common types of skin cancer, as well as some less common forms of the disease.
Keep reading to learn which types of skin cancer Mohs surgery can address and how to know if you’re a good candidate for this advanced surgical therapy.
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) are the most common type of skin cancer, with nearly 4 million cases diagnosed every year. Basal cells are one of the three main types of cells that make up the top layer of your skin.
Since they are on the surface of your skin, basal cells get the most exposure to the damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. This can lead to uncontrolled cell growth and the development of BCCs.
The good news is that BCCs grow slowly, and we can usually cure this type of skin cancer if we diagnose and treat it early. Mohs surgery offers the best cure rates: 99% in new cases and 94% in recurring cases.
Squamous cell carcinoma
The second most common type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) also responds well to Mohs surgery. Like basal cells, squamous cells are located in the top layer of your skin and, as such, are subject to damage from UV rays.
We can successfully treat most cases of SCC with early-stage interventions, like Mohs surgery. But SCCs are more likely than BCCs to spread and become invasive. This is why an annual skin check with us at Manhattan Dermatology is so important.
Some cases of melanoma
Hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed with the most serious type of skin cancer every year: melanoma. It’s less common than SCC and BCC skin cancers, but it’s more likely to spread to other parts of your body, which makes it more deadly.
Whether Mohs surgery plays a role in your melanoma treatment depends on a variety of factors, including the size of the superficial sarcoma and stage (if it has spread to your lymph nodes and/or other body parts).
Most often, Mohs surgery is used to treat early-stage melanomas that haven’t spread. In some cases, we may combine Mohs surgery with other treatment protocols.
Other types of skin cancer
We may also recommend Mohs surgery if you’re diagnosed with a less common type of skin cancer, including:
- Skin adnexal tumors
- Kaposi sarcomas
- Merkel cell carcinomas
- Skin lymphoma
Some different types of soft tissue sarcomas can also be treated effectively with Mohs surgery.
Keep in mind that these types of skin cancer are rare. Including soft tissue sarcomas, these types of cancer make up less than 1% of all skin cancers.
Candidates for Mohs surgery
If you have BCC or SCC, chances are good we will recommend Mohs surgery. This treatment causes the least cosmetic damage and harm to the healthy surrounding tissues while fully removing the cancerous cells.
But no matter which type of skin cancer you have, we evaluate your case to let you know if Mohs surgery is the right treatment option for you. Some factors we consider include:
- Your skin cancer history
- Pathology of the tumor
- Location of the tumor
- Size of the tumor
- Definition of the tumor
We also consider your overall health, such as whether your immune system is suppressed, making other treatment options a higher risk to your health.
Are you ready to learn if Mohs surgery can treat your skin cancer? Schedule an appointment online or over the phone at our Murray Hill or Midtown East office in Manhattan.