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Mohs Surgery, Revolutionary Procedure To Remove Skin Cancer

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Mohs Surgery, Revolutionary Procedure To Remove Skin Cancer

Mohs Surgery, Revolutionary Procedure To Remove Skin Cancer
June 16
10:51 2018
  • Mohs surgery, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, is the most effective procedure for removing the two most common types of skin cancer: Basal Cell Carcinomas and Squamous Cell Carcinomas (BCCs and SCCs)
  • Those with fair skin are at the highest risk. Also, if you or a family member have had skin cancer, or you have had significant sunburns in youth, these are also high-risk factors
  • Often depicted as a difficult surgery to deal with aesthetically, Mohs Surgery is an efficient way to treat skin cancer with a minimized risk of scarring and an optimal chance of healing

Sometimes, life amazes us with progressive innovations. With the advances of science and medical care, and in a world that is constantly evolving, you can now walk into an operating room and be skin cancer-free—within hours.

Mohs surgery, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, is the most effective procedure for removing the two most common types of skin cancer: Basal Cell Carcinomas and Squamous Cell Carcinomas (BCCs and SCCs). The surgery, developed by Dr. Frederick Mohs in the 1930s, has been refined over the years, creating the ability to identify melanoma cells.

According to Dr. Christian Murray, one of only three Mohs surgeons recognized by the Canadian Association of Mohs Surgeons, practicing in Ontario, there are three primary advantages to Mohs surgery. First, by using the microscopic examination of the tissue as a guide, the Mohs surgeon is better able to remove all of the skin cancer. Secondly, by carefully mapping out the tumor, the surgeon can remove cancerous tissue and leave as much skin as possible. Thirdly, the treatment is performed under local anesthesia, which is safer and easier for patients and less costly to the health system.

In most cases, the procedure to stitch up the wound is done following the excision and allows a patient to return home the same day. Dr. Murray says that once patients are ‘clear’ of the cancer, they are presented with all options for reconstruction, with all the pros and cons of each option highlighted. All patients want an excellent cosmetic result, followed by a simple and practical post-operative course.

“It excites me to be able to offer such a safe treatment with the highest cure rate but also [the] best chance at reducing scarring,” said Dr. Murray.

He encourages patients to understand their risk of getting skin cancer, and that it depends on several factors. Those with fair skin are at the highest risk. Also, if you or a family member have had skin cancer, or you have had significant sunburns in youth, these are also high-risk factors.

“It is easy to blame the sunscreen for not working, but in reality I think sunscreen is the last line of defense when there is no better way to protect the skin,” said Dr. Murray. “I applaud patients for being active and spending time outdoors, but with this freedom comes responsibility to be even more vigilant about skin protection.”

Whether or not you’re a Mohs surgery patient, there are sun protection strategies recommended by the Canadian Cancer Society that factor in the prevention skin cancer:

  • Always check the UV Index before going outdoors, whether at home or on vacation, aware that the sun’s rays are stronger at high altitudes.
  • The sun’s rays are strongest between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., so limit your activity outdoors if possible, trying to seek shade by trees, an umbrella, and other stand-alone structures.
  • Despite the heat, try to wear clothing that covers your arms and legs; there is also some clothing specially made for UV protection.
  • Wear brimmed hats and sunglasses, and always wear sunscreen.
  • Avoid indoor tanning equipment, as they increase the risk of skin cancer.

While many of us are aware of the risks of not adequately protecting our skin, we must remember that prevention is key. Often depicted as a difficult surgery to deal with aesthetically, Mohs Surgery is an efficient way to treat skin cancer with a minimized risk of scarring and an optimal chance of healing.


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