Mohs Skin Cancer Treatment and Photodynamic
Skin cancer begins in cells, the building blocks that make up the skin. Normally, skin cells grow and divide to form new cells. Everyday skin cells grow old and die, and new cells take their place.
Sometimes this orderly process goes wrong. New cells form when the skin does not need them, and old cells do not die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor, which can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Two common forms of skin cancer include Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The most serious type of skin cancer is melanoma.
If skin cancer is detected, Dr. Levine will compile a tissue sample (biopsy) which will be examined microscopically and if cancer is confirmed, he will remove it with the Mohs surgery.
Mohs Skin Cancer Removal
The Mohs Skin Cancer Removal procedure involves a layer-by-layer removal of skin that contains cancer cells. The steps of the procedure are as follows:
- The skin around the cancer cells is numbed with an anesthetic.
- Any visible, raised area of the tumor is removed.
- A thin, circular layer of tissue is removed first.
- The tissue is marked in a manner to identify right and left as well as top to bottom sections.
- The entire bottom side and outter edges of the removed tissue layer are examined under a microscope immediately in the doctor’s office.
- If any cancer cells are seen under the microscope, its location is identified (according to the marked section) and an additional thin layer of tissue is removed only from the identified section where the cancer cells remain.
- The process of microscopic examination and removal of additional layers of tissue continue until no more cancer cells are seen under the microscope.
View Mohs Skin Cancer Treatment Before & After Images
Click the button below to view our Mohs Skin Cancer before & after images:
Advantages of Mohs Micrographic Surgery
- Procedure performed from the start to finish by a skin cancer expert
- Highest cure rate available for skin cancer
- Visualizes 100% of margin of excision vs. the 1% with normal pathology
- Smallest amount of normal skin is removed
- Preserves cosmetics and function of treated areas
- Smallest possible defect results in smallest possible scar
- Reconstruction performed immediately after tumor is removed
- All done under local anesthesia in office.
What types of cancer can be removed with Mohs Surgery?
Basal cell and Squamous cell carcinoma are two of the most common skin cancers and also the two that Mohs surgery treats. But it is also helpful for:
- Skin cancers near vital functional or cosmetically important areas such as near eyes, eyelids, nose, ears, lips, forehead, scalp, fingers, or genital area
- Skin cancer that is large(1 inch) or larger on any area other than the face.
- Skin cancer with borders that are not clearly defined
- Skin cancers in which other treatments have been tried and failed (cancer comes back)
- Skin cancer in areas where scar tissue is already present
The cure rate for basal and squamous cell skin cancer is close to 100% when detected and treated at an early stage. That is why a yearly professional skin cancer exam is highly recommended. In between the yearly exams, once a month examine your skin from head to toe and focus on the ABCDE’s (comparing to melanoma forms of skin cancer since it is the most serious form).
Photodynamic Therapy with Levulan® for treatment of skin cancer and pre-cancers
Actinic Keratoses (AKs) are rough-textured, dry, scaly patches on the skin that are caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) such as sunlight. AKs develop as the result of years of sun exposure. AKs take a long time to develop and therefore generally appear after the age of 40.
AKs are considered to be the first step in the development of skin cancer. They have the potential to progress to Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). While most AKs remain benign, a study has shown that approximately 10 percent develop into SCC within an average of two years. Since there is no way of knowing ahead of time which AKs will develop into an SCC, it is very important for individuals with AKs to be under the care of a dermatologist.
Photodynamic Therapy with Levulan® is an effective treatment of minimally to moderately thick AKs of the face and/or scalp.
How PDT with Levulan® works
- Levulan® will be uniformally applied to your AK lesions.
- Dr Levine will direct you to wait the recommended time in order to allow the solution to penetrate the targeted cells.
- Your face will be rinsed in between treatment steps.
- Then you will begin the second part of your treatment which includes illuminating your treated lesions with a blue light. The blue light activates the Levulan® solution so it attacks the diseased cells, while preserving the healthy ones.
- Avoid exposing the treated lesions to sunlight and other forms of bright light for at least 48 hours post treatment (Sunscreens will not protect against photosensitivity reactions caused by visible light).
Common Side Effects:
Scaling/crusting, hypo/hyper-pigmentation, itching, burning/stinging, erythema and edema may last up to 24 hours after your blue light treatment.
FREQUENT SKIN EXAMINATIONS ARE THE KEY TO EARLY DETECTION AND PREVENTION