Skin Cancer Surgery
Before performing surgical procedure, our providers determine:
The type of skin cancer
Where the skin cancer appears on the body
Whether the skin cancer is aggressive
Stage of the cancer (how deeply the skin cancer has grown and whether it has spread)
After considering the above, Dr. Le and Dr. Bryan will choose one or more of the following treatments for skin cancer.
When treating skin cancer, the goal is to remove all of the cancer. When the cancer has not spread, this is often possible. To remove skin cancer, the following surgical treatment may be used:
To perform this, the provider will numb the skin and then surgically cuts out the skin cancer and a small amount of normal-looking skin. This normal-looking skin is called a margin.
The visible part of the skin cancer will be removed. Because cancer cells are not visible to the naked eye, our providers will also removes some skin that looks normal but may contain cancer cells. This part of the surgery is performed one layer at a time. After removing a layer of skin, it is prepared so that the providers can examine it under a microscope and look for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, another layer of skin will be removed. This layer-by-layer approach continues until the provider no longer finds cancer cells. In most cases, Mohs surgery can be completed within a day or less. The cure rate for skin cancer is high when Mohs surgery is used.
Curettage and electrodesiccation
This surgical procedure may be used to treat small basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. It involves scraping the tumor with a curette (a surgical instrument shaped like a long spoon) and then using an electric needle to gently cauterize (burn) the remaining cancer cells and some normal-looking tissue. This scraping and cauterizing process is typically repeated 3 times. The wound tends to heal without stitches.
Surgical treatment is not right for every case of skin cancer. Some patients cannot undergo surgery. Sometimes, surgery cannot remove all of the cancer, and more treatment is used to help get rid of the cancer. If the skin cancer is caught very early, surgery may not be necessary.
Other treatments for skin cancer include immunotherapy, cryosurgery, chemotherapy applied to the skin, chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy and radiation therapy.