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Precision In The Fight Against Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, affecting millions of people worldwide each year. In recent years, advancements in technology and techniques have greatly improved its treatment. Key to this is Mohs surgery, a highly effective method for treating certain skin cancers while minimising damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Here, Eoin explains why it's considered one of the most precise and effective treatments for skin cancer.
Precision In The Fight Against Skin Cancer

Mohs surgery, named after its founder, Dr Frederic Mohs, is a specialised and precise technique used primarily for the treatment of skin cancer, particularly basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The procedure is renowned for its ability to spare healthy tissue while ensuring complete removal of cancerous cells. It is commonly performed by dermatologists, maxillofacialists and specially trained surgeons.

How Does It Works?

This multi-step process eradicates skin cancer layer by layer while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of the procedure:

  1. Local Anaesthesia: The patient is administered a local anaesthetic to numb the surgical area, ensuring a pain-free experience.

  2. Tumour Removal: The surgeon removes the visible tumour or affected tissue, leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact.

  3. Tissue Mapping and Examination: The excised tissue is divided into sections and precisely mapped. These sections are then frozen and examined under a microscope by the surgeon. This examination is crucial in identifying any remaining cancerous cells.

  4. Iterative Process: If cancer cells are detected in any of the examined tissue sections, the surgeon returns to the specific area where cancer was found and removes additional layers of tissue, repeating the process until no cancer cells remain.

  5. Closure: Once all cancerous cells have been removed, the surgeon discusses the best method for closing the wound, which may involve natural healing, stitches, or reconstructive surgery, depending on the size and location of the excision.

What Is Mohs Surgery Used For?

It is primarily utilised for the treatment of skin cancer, particularly when the lesion is in areas where preserving healthy tissue and minimizing scarring are critical. Here are some key applications:

  1. Basal Cell Carcinoma: Mohs surgery is highly effective for treating basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer. Its precision is especially valuable when the cancer is located on the face, neck, or other cosmetically sensitive areas.

  2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Squamous cell carcinoma, another common skin cancer type, can also be effectively treated. This technique ensures complete removal of cancerous cells, reducing the risk of recurrence.

  3. High-Risk Areas: Mohs surgery is often recommended for skin cancers in high-risk areas, such as around the eyes, nose, lips or ears, where tissue preservation and minimal scarring are crucial for function and aesthetics.

  4. Recurrent Skin Cancer: It is an excellent choice when the cancer re-occurs after previous treatments, as it allows for precise removal of residual cancer cells.

Effectiveness of Mohs Surgery

The effectiveness of Mohs surgery is widely acknowledged in the medical community because of its key advantages:

  1. Highest Cure Rates: It has some of the highest cure rates for skin cancer, often exceeding 95%. Its meticulous approach ensures that nearly all cancer cells are removed during the procedure.

  2. Tissue Preservation: Mohs surgery excels in preserving healthy tissue, making it the preferred choice for cancers in cosmetically sensitive and functionally important areas.

  3. Minimal Scarring: Patients who undergo the surgery typically experience minimal scarring compared to other surgical techniques, thanks to its precise tumour removal.

  4. Low Recurrence Rates: Due to its comprehensive approach, Mohs surgery has lower rates of cancer recurrence compared to alternative treatments.

It's not an understatement to say Mohs has revolutionised the treatment of skin cancer, thanks to its unparalleled precision, high cure rates and minimal scarring. Its ability to remove cancer layer by layer while preserving healthy tissue has made it the gold standard. If you or a loved one is facing a skin cancer diagnosis, it's really worth chatting to our team to explore treatment option available. Find out more here.

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