Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, affecting about one in five people in the United States at some point. While any cancer diagnosis can feel scary, it’s important to know that most skin cancers are highly treatable when they’re detected early. And of all the available treatments, little compares to Mohs surgery.
At the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Dr. Hendi and our team of skin cancer experts specialize in Mohs surgery. Having performed more than 14,000 Mohs procedures, Dr. Hendi applies his vast expertise to help you reach the best possible outcome.
Let’s delve deeper into Mohs surgery, including why it’s often the preferred skin cancer treatment.
Types of skin cancer
Mohs surgery may be recommended no matter what type of skin cancer you have. The main types of skin cancer include:
- Basal cell carcinoma, which causes a pearly or waxy bump or flat lesion
- Squamous cell carcinoma, which causes a hard, red nodule or scaly lesion
- Melanoma, which causes a mole that’s painful, itchy, or irregularly shaped
Basal cell and squamous cell cancers typically appear in areas that are frequently exposed to the sun. Melanoma is the most dangerous and is the type most likely to spread.
What to expect during Mohs surgery
Mohs surgery is considered a gold standard in skin cancer treatment, because it removes the cancer and leaves as much healthy tissue as possible.
First, the treatment area is numbed. Then, Dr. Hendi removes a thin layer of skin and examines it under a microscope. If the presence of cancer is detected, he removes another thin layer and examinees it under a microscope. He continues doing this until he removes a layer and no more skin cancer is detected.
While each case is unique, he usually removes most skin cancers completely within three stages. Once the cancer is gone, Dr. Hendi determines how best to let the area heal. For example, he may close the area with stitches or a skin graft.
After your procedure, you can return home. From there, your skin will gradually heal for 4-6 weeks.
Why Mohs surgery is preferred
Mohs surgery is a highly recommended skin cancer treatment for good reason. In addition to leaving much of the surrounding tissue undamaged, the procedure is highly effective. Because it’s so precise, the Mohs procedure yields success rates of up to 99%.
In particular, Mohs surgery is the gold standard treatment for highly risky skin cancers, such as those with an aggressive growth pattern or those that affect the head or neck. We may also recommend it if you have compromised immune function or if your cancer has returned after another kind of treatment.
To learn more about Mohs surgery or to find out about other skin cancer services, call 301-812-4591 or book an appointment online with the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, today.