Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer originating in the epidermis or outer skin layer. It occurs when a type of cell called a “melanocyte” turns cancerous and grows at the expense of the cells around it. Melanoma is very dangerous because this type of cancer is more likely to metastasize, meaning the cancer cells spread far away from their original location. When this happens, the cancer can spread to different organs and is potentially fatal.
Melanoma develops more frequently in men than women and can occur in any location of the body. The disease usually develops after the age of 50, but it can occur in virtually any age group. In fact, melanoma is the most common cancer in people aged 25-29 years old. Those with lighter skin develop melanoma more often than those with darker skin. Fortunately, Mohs surgery for melanoma is a safe and effective procedure with a very high cure rate.
What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery is the gold standard in the treatment of skin cancer. Named after the doctor who invented the technique, Mohs surgery involves the removal of the skin cancer layer by layer. This established outpatient procedure uses a very precise method of tissue examination that targets cancerous tissue while sparing surrounding healthy tissue.
The tissue examination begins when the Mohs surgeon removes the area clinically suspicious for cancer plus a small margin. The tissue is processed in the lab then placed onto a slide to be examined under a microscope. This allows the surgeon to inspect the tissue to see if the cancer has extensions or “roots” that reach beyond the edge of the first layer. When cancer cells are visible, another layer of tissue is removed only at the areas where the cancer was still present, leaving the remaining skin intact. After complete cancer removal is achieved, the surgeon skillfully closes the wound. This may be done using a variety of techniques designed to restore the appearance and function of the treated area.
What are the Advantages of Mohs Surgery for Melanoma?
Mohs surgery is considered the most effective treatment for early-stage melanoma, particularly melanoma in situ, and offers the highest cure rate. This surgical technique is known for preserving as much healthy tissue as possible, which means the impact of surgery including scarring and complications are minimized.
One of the advantages of Mohs surgery over traditional excision is that the patient does not have to wait days or weeks to find out if all of the cancer is gone. This saves the patient stress and anxiety. Mohs surgery provides fast, same-day cancer removal and repair and provides the patient same-day peace of mind.
To learn more about how Mohs surgery works, set up a time to talk to Dr. Brent Taylor and his experienced team at Premier Dermatology and Mohs Surgery of Atlanta. We pride ourselves on being one of the only practices in Atlanta offering true Mohs surgery for melanoma. Our office is located in Alpharetta. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more.