Skin Cancer Treatment & Surgery
SKIN CANCER TREATMENT
Dr. Kittridge performs dermatologic surgery to treat many different skin cancers. The type of surgical procedure preformed is based on the type, size and location of skin cancer amongst other factors. Dr. Kittridge will discuss your treatment options with you. Some skin cancers will require referral to a Mohs surgeon to decrease the risk of recurrence and improve outcomes. While Dr. Kittridge does not preform the Mohs procedure, we provide some educational points on the Mohs procedure so that our patients are informed about this type of treatment.
MOHS MICROGRAPHIC SURGERY
Mohs micrographic surgery is the most advanced, precise, and effective treatment for most skin cancer types, especially those occurring in areas such as the head, neck, hands, feet and genitals. With the Mohs technique, physicians can precisely identify and remove an entire tumor while preserving the surrounding healthy tissue in an outpatient office setting.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING MOHS SURGERY
The Mohs procedure involves surgically removing skin cancer layer by layer and examining the tissue under a microscope until healthy, cancer-free tissue around the tumor is reached (called clear margins). Immediate and complete microscopic examination and evaluation of excised tissue during one office visit is what differentiates Mohs surgery from other skin cancer removal procedures. The procedure is done in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia and therefore eliminates the risks and costs associated with general anesthesia. For more details on the step-by-step process you can visit the American College of Mohs Surgery website.
WHICH SKIN CANCERS ARE BEST TREATED WITH MOHS
Mohs surgery is most commonly used for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, although virtually any skin cancer can be treated with this technique. Mohs surgery is especially appropriate for skin cancers that:
- Develop on areas where preserving cosmetic appearance and function are important (i.e. head, face, neck, hands, feet and genitalia)
- Have recurred after previous treatment or are likely to recur
- Are located in scar tissue
- Are large
- Have edges that are ill-defined
- Grow rapidly/have aggressive pathology features
ADVANTAGES OF MOHS SURGERY
Mohs surgery provides several advantages for people with skin cancer:
- Ensuring complete cancer removal during surgery and providing the highest success rates compared to other treatments
- Preserving the surrounding healthy tissue
- Maximizing the functional and cosmetic outcome resulting from surgery
- Skin cancer removal, confirmation of negative margins and repairing the site of the cancer removal in the same day/office appointment, in most cases
- Minimizes the risk of recurrence and therefore reduces and frequently eliminates the costs of larger, more serious surgeries for recurrent skin cancers
Dr. Kittridge uses the Appropriate Use Criteria when determining whether a particular skin cancer should be treated with the Mohs technique. She will appropriately guide you in your treatment options and always makes YOU apart of your medical decisions making.