Surgical treatments for skin cancer include:
Mohs Micrographic Surgery – This technique, employed for certain types of skin cancer, saves the greatest amount of healthy tissue and has a very high cure rate for select cancers.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery was developed in the 1930s. The technique has been refined into the most advanced, precise, and effective treatment for an increasing variety of skin cancer types. With the Mohs technique, physicians can precisely identify and remove an entire skin cancer while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact and unharmed.
The Mohs procedure involves surgically removing skin cancer layer by layer and examining the tissue under a microscope until healthy, cancer-free tissue around the tumor is reached (called clear margins).
Mohs surgery is unique and so effective because of the way the removed tissue is microscopically examined, evaluating 100% of the surgical margins. The pathologic interpretation of the tissue margins is done on site by the Mohs surgeon, who is specially trained in the reading of these slides and is best able to correlate any microscopic findings with the surgical site on the patient.
Excisional Surgery – Physician cuts out the entire growth along with a surrounding border of normal skin as a safety margin.
Electrodesiccation and Curettage – Physician scrapes off the cancerous growth with a circular scalpel known as a curette. An electric needle destroys the residual tumor and controls bleeding.
Actinic Keratoses (AKs) are scaly or crusty growths caused by damage from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. They can appear on any sun-exposed area; they are especially prevalent on the scalp, face and hands. They are usually red in color, but can be tan, pink or flesh-colored. If left untreated, AKs can advance to squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer.
It’s estimated that more than 58 million Americans have actinic keratosis (AKs). The closer to the equator that you live, the more likely it is that you will have actinic keratosis. In Florida, we are exposed to the sun’s rays much more than most other locations in America.
Treatments for actinic keratosis include cryosurgery, photodynamic therapy (PDT), laser surgery, chemical peeling, and topical chemotherapeutic agents.
Cryosurgery – Precancerous or cancerous tissue is destroyed by freezing with liquid nitrogen.
A skin tag is a small flap of tissue that hangs off the skin by a connecting stalk. Skin tags are not dangerous. They are usually found on the neck, armpits, under the breasts, or in the groin area. Skin tags appear most often in women, especially with weight gain, and in elderly people. Skin tags usually don’t cause any pain. However, they can become irritated if anything, such as clothing or jewelry, rubs them.
They can be removed by cutting them off with a scalpel or scissor, with cryosurgery (freezing it off), or with electrosurgery (burning it off with an electric current).
A cyst (frequently referred to as a sebaceous cyst) is a small closed sac that contains fluid or solid material. It usually is a non-tender, small lump beneath the skin. Sebaceous cysts most often arise from swollen hair follicles. Skin trauma can also induce a cyst to form. A sac of cells is created into which a protein called keratin is secreted. Cysts are usually found on the face, neck, and trunk. They are usually slow- growing, painless, freely movable lumps beneath the skin. Occasionally, however, a cyst will become inflamed and tender.
We can reduce the size of a cyst by the injection of a steroid medication, or completely remove it via excisional surgery.
Moles, also known as nevi, are growths on the skin that are usually brown or black. They may be normal or abnormal. Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, alone or in groups. It’s normal to have between 10-40 moles by adulthood. Moles occur when cells in the skin grow in a cluster instead of being spread throughout the skin. These cells are called melanocytes, and they make the pigment that gives skin its natural color. Moles may normally darken after exposure to the sun, during the teen years, and during pregnancy.
If a mole displays any of the signs listed below, have it checked immediately. It could be abnormal or a melanoma.
Asymmetry. One half of the mole does not match the other half.
Border. The border or edges of the mole are ragged, blurred, or irregular.
Color. The color of the mole is not the same throughout or has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red.
Diameter. The diameter of a mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil.Evolution. The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.
Freckles are harmless brown spots usually found on the face and arms. Freckles are extremely common and are not a health threat. They are more often seen in the summer, especially among lighter-skinned people and people with light or red hair. Causes of freckles include a genetic predisposition and exposure to the sun. As with many skin conditions, it’s best to avoid the sun as much as possible, and use a sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher to avoid further freckling. This is especially important because people who freckle easily (for example, lighter-skinned people) are more likely to develop skin cancer.
If you are bothered by the cosmetic appearance of your freckles, we can provide you with different treatment options including topical medications, chemical peels, and laser therapy.