Why Mohs Surgery Is the Gold Standard for Treating the Most Common Skin Cancers

Jul 20, 2022
Why Mohs Surgery Is the Gold Standard for Treating the Most Common Skin Cancers
Skin cancer is the No. 1 most common cancer in the United States. Fortunately, it’s also one of the most treatable. Mohs surgery offers the highest cure rates for common skin cancers. Learn how it works and what to expect.

About 20% of Americans develop skin cancer by age 70. It’s the No. 1 cancer diagnosis in the country, and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the two most common types.

Fortunately, skin cancer treatment can be incredibly effective — especially when the cancer is identified early. Mohs surgery is the gold standard for treating BCC and SCC, with a 99% cure rate for first-time skin cancers and a 94% cure rate for returning skin cancers.

As a board-certified Mohs micrographic surgeon, Ruben Moreno, MD, specializes in this leading skin cancer treatment at Florida Dermatology Associates, with locations in and around Cocoa Beach, Florida. 

Finding out you have skin cancer is scary, but it’s important to know that you have treatment options. Here’s what you need to know about Mohs surgery.

Why Mohs surgery is the gold standard

Mohs surgery is an advanced treatment method for certain skin cancers. Dr. Frederic E. Mohs developed the technique in the 1930s, and its popularity began to grow in the ’60s. Today, Mohs surgery is widely considered the most effective treatment for BCC and SCC skin cancers.

While other skin cancer treatments remove large sections of skin all at once, Mohs surgery removes affected skin one layer at a time to protect as much healthy tissue as possible. Each layer that’s removed is examined under a microscope for signs of cancer while you wait.

If cancer is present, another layer is removed and examined. The process continues until a layer without cancer is found, and the surgery concludes.

Mohs surgery allows doctors to identify the exact layer where cancer stops, so they remove only the tissue that needs to be removed. Because it minimizes tissue loss, it’s particularly effective for areas without excess tissue, like your face, head, and hands.

Mohs surgery is a safe, precise procedure to treat both BCC and SCC. Because it’s so accurate, it can successfully treat even large and high-risk skin cancers.

What to expect during Mohs surgery

Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure that Dr. Moreno performs in our office. If you’re scheduled for Mohs surgery, our team gives you detailed instructions about how to prepare.

On the day of your surgery, wear comfortable clothes and plan to spend several hours in the office. We start by marking the area to be removed, then administer local anesthesia to reduce discomfort.

Then, Dr. Moreno carefully removes the first layer of skin. We test the layer in our on-site lab while you wait. If cancer is found, Dr. Moreno removes the next layer. The process continues until no cancerous cells remain.

Once the procedure is complete, we close and bandage the surgery site. We give you instructions to care for your wound as it heals, and you’re free to go home. In general, there’s no downtime required with Mohs surgery.

If you’ve received a skin cancer diagnosis, it’s time to find out if Mohs surgery is a good option for you. Book a consultation with Dr. Moreno and our team online or call the Cocoa Beach, Florida, area office nearest you today.