A video from our US colleagues gives an overview of Mohs. There are nominal differences at any specialist clinic but this is a good reflection of the approach.
Having surgery of any kind can be concerning, yet the calm day depicted in the video is accurate. You will not be rushed and good communication is maintained throughout, whilst you are under local anaesthetic.
Although Mohs is a fairly modern technique, our surgeons are highly trained and experienced. They are also comfortable with the procedure, along with the benefits which can be achieved for their patients.
Skin cancer is a growing issue across the globe but so is our understanding of the disease. General surgical excision is the correct choice for certain types and has good cure rates for others, with a few caveats.
Five year recurrence rates following a standard surgical approach are higher, around 8% for squamous cell carcinoma. This brings back natural concerns and a need for treatment, when they might have been avoided.
Every surgeon is conscious of the fact their involvement lasts a few hours but the result lasts a lifetime. Whatever the procedure, they will take care but for standard excision, more tissue tends to be removed, creating more damage.
The rationale for Mohs is clear, your cancer is less likely to return and the cosmetic benefits make treatment less of an intrusion on life.
Making The Choice
There are lower level treatments for skin cancer, such as curettage, electrodesiccation, topical medication, or cryotherapy. For minor cases, they can make sense, although recurrence is higher with these techniques.
Treatment in the majority of cases is a choice between Mohs surgery and standard surgical excision. Your consultant will advice when the tumour itself, or the type of skin cancer require excision, otherwise the decision is yours.
By all means read more on the topic and when you visit us, please ask your consultant any question you wish. Writing down queries can assist, you are also welcome to bring a friend, or family member to support you if you wish.
No surgery should be undertaken lightly but if you are diagnosed with a number of skin cancer variants. Mohs surgery is the gold standard treatment. Also the approach most likely to ensure that a visit for treatment in the future is not required.