Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting mankind. One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. All skin cancers continue to grow and destroy tissue. Sometimes it can even spread to other sites. Therefore, we recommend scheduling your treatment right away to optimize your outcome. During your visit, all the options will be considered depending upon the size, location, depth, and tumor type. Options for skin cancer treatment include:
- Topical Creams
- Electrodessication with Curettage
- Radiation Therapy (not offered at DSI)
- Skin cancer removal using the Standard Excision Technique
- Skin cancer removal using Mohs Micrographic Surgery
Can I just use a cream to treat my skin cancer?
Our providers commonly use topical creams, cryosurgery, and electrodessication with curettage to treat superficial tumors. They are great options for smaller cancers. However, the success rates for these options drop significantly for invasive disease. Therefore, your biopsy results are critical in the decision making process and evaluation to select the best treatment option for you.
What is the difference between a standard excision and Mohs surgery to remove my skin cancer?
A standard excision is the classic method to remove skin cancer and you are only at the clinic for about an hour. During this process, the tumor is evaluated and a margin of healthy tissue is removed and sent to an outside laboratory. The healthy tissue is checked to make sure there is no tumor remaining at the edges. The tissue preparation takes about a week to obtain the final results. Depending on all the factors mentioned above, excision cure rates range from about 70% to 99%. A standard excision may be the best option for your skin cancer depending upon the tumor type, size, location, and depth.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery removes the tissue using a slightly different technique where the surgeon only removes about a millimeter of healthy skin. This minimizes the amount of normal tissue removed but your surgeon may need to go back and remove another millimeter if the previous layer was positive with cancer. The surgeon will repeat the process until no tumor remains. You will be at the clinic for at least 2-5 hours. Furthermore, the tissue processing is different. First of all, the tissue is processed on site and is processed in about an hour. Additionally, 100% of the true margins are evaluated as opposed to edge samples. The net result is the smallest defect possible with the highest cure rates of any cancer treatment technique available today. Mohs Micrographic Surgery has revolutionized skin cancer treatments with cure rates ranging from about 95% to 99%. For more information, on Mohs Surgery, click here.