Mohs Micrographic Surgery
Developed by Frederic E. Mohs, M.D. in the 1930s, Mohs Micrographic Surgery for the removal of skin cancer is a highly precise, highly effective method that excises not only the visible tumor but also any “roots” that may have extended beneath the skin surface. Five-year cure rates have been demonstrated up to 99 percent for first-treatment cancers and 95 percent for recurring cancers.
Mohs surgery involves the systematic removal and microscopic analysis of thin layers of tissue at the tumor site until the last traces of the cancer have been eliminated. The immediate and complete microscopic examination and evaluation of excised tissue is what differentiates Mohs surgery from other cancer removal procedures. Only cancerous tissue is removed, minimizing both post-operative wound size scar and the chance of recurrence.
Mohs surgery is most commonly used for basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Cancers that are likely to recur or have already recurred are often treated using this technique because it is so thorough. High precision makes Mohs surgery ideal for the elimination of cancers in cosmetically and functionally critical areas such as the face (nose, eyelids, lips, hairline), hands, feet and genitals.
Mohs physicians are highly trained to function as surgeon, pathologist and reconstructive surgeon during the cancer removal process. They work in offices equipped with appropriate surgical and laboratory facilities, and are supported by Mohs-trained nursing and technical staff.
As with any surgery, there is a risk of scarring. There may be temporary or permanent numbness or muscle weakness in the area. Other possible complications include tenderness, itching and pains. Dr. Parks works with and refers to plastic surgeons when large wound size requires.
For more information, visit the American Society for Mohs Surgery at http://www.mohssurgery.org
Superficial Radiotherapy (SRT)
Low dose superficial radiotherapy safely destroys non-melanoma skin cancer cells without damaging healthy surrounding tissue. A non-invasive option; there is no cutting or stitching, less risk for infection, and no need for reconstructive plastic surgery to repair surgical scars.
The SRT-100 can be used for lesions on the arms, legs, back and trunk, but it is especially well suited for skin cancers of the head and neck regions --the fold in the nose, eyelids, lips, corner of the mouth, and the lining of the ear--that would otherwise lead to a less than desirable cosmetic outcome. SRT is also a great treatment option for patients who are considered high risk for surgical procedures.
BLU-U Light Photodynamic Therapy
Levulan Photodynamic Therapy is for the treatment of moderate Actinic Keratoses. This treatment consists of Levulan Kerastick topical solution applied to the affected area along with BLU-U photodynamic light. Levulan makes the lesions sensitive to light; therefore when exposed to the BLU-U, this light causes reactions which destroy the pre cancerous cells. This treatment is particularly desirable on the face, where other methods of treatment may leave white spots. Patients have often reported a positive cosmetic response after receiving the treatment.
Skin Cancer Detection & Treatment
The best type of treatment for skin cancer depends on the type, size and location of the tumor. Most cases are removed surgically, through an outpatient procedure that requires only local anesthesia. This can be a simple excision that only leaves a small scar, or a deeper removal that may require later reconstruction.
Other treatment options for skin cancer include cryosurgery (freezing diseased cells), radiation therapy, topical chemotherapy, laser therapy or Mohs surgery, which involves shaving off the affected tissue layer by layer until no abnormal cells remain. These procedures are usually effective in thoroughly removing all traces of skin cancer, but it is important to see your doctor for regular screenings and practice healthy habits in order to prevent recurrence.