Baby Boomers were the last generation to venerate the sun without sunscreen and other precautions, and now they’re paying the price. Basal cell and squamous skin cancers have increased 77% percent in the last 20 years.
The good news is that these two cancers are highly curable, especially if caught early. That’s why regular dermatology check-ups are vital. A thorough skin check can uncover cancer spots and prompt treatment—usually removal.
Here’s more good news: a highly-refined kind of microsurgery called Mohs surgery, reduces scars and boasts a cure rate up to 99.8%. This is what you need to know about Mohs surgery:
- Basal Cell and Squamous Carcinomas are Common
There are 5.3 million new cases of these two kinds of skin cancer every year. That means dermatologists have a lot of experience and have refined their tools against them. Mohs surgery was developed in 1938 and improved over the years, and 80 later it is the surgery of choice in many cases.
- Mohs Spares Healthy Tissue
Because the tumor is excised precisely in layers and tested before proceeding, Mohs surgery minimizes the amount of tissue that is removed. In ordinary surgery, an area larger than the tumor is excised in the hopes that no cancerous cells are left behind.
- Why do Mohs Surgery Instead of Regular Surgery?
The American Academy of Dermatology, in cooperation with Mohs societies and governmental agencies, has developed criteria for appropriate use of this fine technique. Larger, more aggressive cancers of your body or extremities can be sites for appropriate use of Mohs Surgery. Head and neck skin cancers of any size may be best treated with Mohs Surgery.
- With Mohs Surgery, You Know the Same Day if Cancer is Gone
With ordinary skin cancer removal, the excised tissue is sent to a lab whose results don’t return for a week or two while patients fret about their fate. Dermatology offices that have the expertise to offer Mohs surgery, like Associated Dermatology and Skin Care Clinic of Helena, can study tissue samples on site. This allows them to determine whether another treatment is needed and provide it right away. On average, says Tracy Vidrich, RN Nursing Manager at the practice, patients need a treatment or two. “That saves them a lot of anxiety,” she says.
- Mohs Can Be Done Under Local Anesthesia
You don’t have to wake up after Mohs surgery because you don’t need to get knocked out. You can even drive yourself home if you like. Most people walk out with a bandage and orders not to get the surgery site wet for a few days.
- Adept Dermatology Offices Know How to Make Patients Comfortable
Dermatology staffs experienced with Mohs surgery appreciate the apprehension surgery patients feel and work to make them as comfortable as possible. Vidrich says Associated Dermatology and Skin Care of Helena recommends patients shower in advance because that might not be an option for a few days. They bring their patients tea and coffee and suggest patients bring a friend or a book to entertain them during the 1½ – 3-hour procedure. In addition, Dr. Stephen Behlmer, the dermatologist who performs Mohs surgery, has had extensive training in plastics and reconstructive surgery. Having performed nearly 10,000 Mohs surgeries, he has the skill to reduce the cosmetic impact of the procedure.
Want to learn more about whether Mohs surgery might be the answer to your skin cancer? Visit Associated Dermatology and Skin Care of Helena online at AssociatedDermHelena.com. To make an appointment, email email@example.com or call (406) 324-7447.
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