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What Kind Of Doctor Removes Skin Cancer

Am I A Candidate For Mohs Surgery

Skin Cancer Types and Treatments | Ask The Expert

Most Mohs surgeries are performed to treat head and neck cancer, but some skin cancer patients are candidates because the location of their tumor means theres very little extra skin around the tumor site. A smaller excision means less skin is removed, and a less-intensive reconstructive procedure will be required.

A for surgeons and patients alike can help determine whether the location of a tumor makes a person a good candidate for the surgery.

See A Suspicious Spot See A Dermatologist

If you find a spot on your skin that could be skin cancer, its time to see a dermatologist. Found early, skin cancer is highly treatable. Often a dermatologist can treat an early skin cancer by removing the cancer and a bit of normal-looking skin.

Given time to grow, treatment for skin cancer becomes more difficult.

What Is The Process Involved In Doing Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery is unique in its precision. Instead of removing the entire clinically visible tumor and a large area of normal-appearing skin around it, the specialized surgeon removes a minimum amount of healthy tissue to totally remove the cancer. Thin layers of tissue are systematically excised and examined under a microscope for malignant cells. When all areas of tissue are tumor-free, surgery is complete. This process should not be confused with frozen sections, which refers to random sectioning, examining only a small area of the overall specimen.

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Your Care Team For Melanoma Surgery

If you need surgery, our surgical oncology team manages your care during this part of your treatment. We work with you to explain our recommendations for your surgical plan to help you decide whats right for you. We also help you prepare for your surgery and your recovery at home.

You are an important part of the care team, too, so ask us questions and voice your concerns at any point in your treatment. Members of your surgical oncology team include:

How Do Dermatologists Treat Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin


Most patients are treated with a type of surgery called surgical removal. Your dermatologist or Mohs surgeon can often perform this type of treatment during an office visit.

The following describes what to expect from surgical removal and other treatments for this skin cancer:

Surgical removal: Three types of surgical removal are used to treat this type of skin cancer. All can be performed during an office visit while you remain awake.

Your dermatologist will choose the type of surgical removal you receive, based on where the skin cancer appears on your body, how deeply the cancer has grown, and other considerations.

During surgical removal, your dermatologist cuts out the tumor. When the cancer is caught early, this may be the only treatment you need.

Heres what happens during each type of surgical removal used to treat this skin cancer:

Radiation therapy: If surgical removal alone cannot treat the cancer or you cannot have surgical removal, your treatment plan may include radiation treatments.

The different types of radiation therapy used to treat SCC are:

  • Superficial radiation therapy: Beams of radiation are directed just beneath the skin, which treats only the tumor.

  • External beam radiation therapy: High-energy beams of radiation are sent into the tumor in order to kill cancer cells.

  • Brachytherapy : Radioactive implants are placed inside the cancer. Also called internal radiation, this therapy is often used to treat prostate cancer.

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Undergoing Mohs Heres What You Can Expect

The following step-by-step outline covers the typical Mohs procedure to treat skin cancer, according to the American College of Mohs Surgery:

Because skin cancer may extend beyond what is visible on the surface of the skin, your Mohs surgeon will examine the visible lesion and identify what tissue to remove.

Local anesthesia is supplied, and your Mohs surgeon removes the visible portion of the tumor the first layer using precise surgical techniques. Your wound will be temporarily bandaged while the excised tissue is examined in a laboratory.

While you wait, your Mohs surgeon will divide the excised tissue into sections and map exactly where at the surgery site the cancerous cells were found.

Still in the lab, the underside and edges of the excised tissue are examined for any cancerous cells. This allows your doctor to identify precisely where cancer may remain at the surgery site.

If additional cancer cells are identified in the margins of the excised tissue, your Mohs surgeon will remove another, deeper layer of skin. This removal is strategic and precise, using the lab-created map to target cancer cells only. The lab work described in steps 3 and 4 is repeated with each layer of tissue removed.

The removal process stops when there is no longer any evidence of cancer in the margins of excised tissue. Because Mohs surgery removes only tissue containing cancer, it ensures that the maximum amount of healthy tissue is kept intact and the smallest possible scar develops.

What Is The Outlook For Someone Who Has Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin

When found early, this cancer is highly treatable. Left untreated, however, SCC can spread deep into the skin and travel to other parts of the body, making treatment difficult.

While treatment can remove the cancer, its important to know that this cancer can return. You also have a greater risk of developing another skin cancer.

Thats why self-care becomes so important after treatment for SCC of the skin. Youll find the self-care that dermatologists recommend at, Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin: Self-care.

ImagesGetty Images

ReferencesAlam M, Armstrong A, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. J Am Acad Dermatol 2018 78:560-78.

Anadolu-Brasie R, Patel AR, et al., Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. In: Nouri K, et al. Skin Cancer. McGraw Hill Medical, China, 2008: 86-114.

Marrazzo G, Zitelli JA, et al. Clinical outcomes in high-risk squamous cell carcinoma patients treated with Mohs micrographic surgery alone. J Am Acad Dermatol 2019 80:633-8.

Que SKT, Zwald FO, et al. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: Management of advanced and high-stage tumors. J Am Acad Dermatol 2018 78:249-61.

Ribero S, Stucci LS, et al. Drug therapy of advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: Is there any evidence? Curr Opin Oncol. 2017 29:129-35.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA approves cemiplimab-rwlc for metastatic or locally advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. New release issued 9/28/2018. Last accessed 1/13/2020.

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Surgery For Basal And Squamous Cell Skin Cancers

Surgery is a common treatment for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. Different surgical techniques can be used. The options depend on the type of skin cancer, how large the cancer is, where it is on the body, and other factors. Most often the surgery can be done in a doctors office or hospital clinic using a local anesthetic . For skin cancers with a high risk of spreading, surgery sometimes will be followed by other treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy.

Start Your Care With A Fellowship

Types of Skin Cancer

This may seem like a no-brainer, but when it comes to skin cancer treatment, youre better off beginning your care with a board-certified dermatologist. Choosing a dermatologist with fellowship training in skin oncology and dermatologic surgery is also important.

Sometimes people go right to a plastic surgeon when they have something on their face, Dr. Lee explains. But skin cancer can grow wider than anticipated, making complete removal tricky.

One way to ensure that you get the best cosmetic outcome is to seek out a dermatologist with experience in treating facial skin cancer. Dermatologists who have completed a dermatologic surgery fellowship tend to have the most experience with facial cancers, Dr. Lee says. Ask your dermatologist for a referral to a dermatologic surgeon or seek treatment at a medical center with dermatologic surgeons on staff.

Fellowship-trained dermatologic surgeons are experts in delicate skin-sparing procedures that can better preserve your appearance while also making sure that all of the cancer is removed. They are also skilled in reading pathology, Dr. Lee points out, which gives them an excellent understanding of how cancer grows so they can ensure that they are removing all of it.

And if you do need a plastic surgeon, a dermatologic surgeon will be able to advise you.

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Why Choose Torrey Pines Dermatology

Dr. Kristen Richards, our Founder and CEO, is one of very few Fellowship-trained Mohs micrographic surgeons here in San Diego. The American College of Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology is the official organization responsible for training Mohs surgeons and maintaining a high standard of care in the specialty of Mohs surgery. To become a member of this organization and to be known as a Mohs surgeon, a special one to two-year fellowship, following a dermatology residency, is required. Only a limited number of dermatologists are trained each year to be Mohs surgeons, in order to maintain the highest level of competence in the specialty.

If your doctor has referred you to Torrey Pines Dermatology to have Mohs micrographic surgery at our La Jolla practice, you will be scheduled for a preoperative consultation. This visit allows Dr. Kristen Richards to examine your skin cancer, obtain your medical history, and determine whether the technique of Mohs micrographic surgery is the most appropriate treatment for you. It also gives you the opportunity to meet Dr. Kristen Richards and her staff and learn about the procedure.

Questions For Your Skin Cancer Healthcare Team

Here are some questions you might want to ask your dermatologist or other health professionals you see:

  • What type of skin cancer do I have?
  • What stage is my cancer?
  • How much experience do you have treating my type of skin cancer?
  • What do you suggest is the best treatment for me?
  • Are there other options? What are they?
  • How effective is the treatment for my skin cancer?
  • What are the side effects of treatment?
  • How likely is it that my cancer will return after treatment?
  • Should I stay out of the sun or take special precautions when outdoors?
  • Do you accept my insurance plan?

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The Mohs Surgical Procedure

Typically, Mohs surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure in the physicians office. Although the patient is awake during the entire procedure, discomfort is usually minimal and no greater than it would be for more routine skin cancer surgeries. The Mohs surgical procedure is illustrated in the following diagrams:

Remission And The Chance Of Recurrence


A remission is when cancer cannot be detected in the body and there are no symptoms. This may also be called having no evidence of disease or NED.

A remission may be temporary or permanent. This uncertainty causes many people to worry that the cancer will come back. While many remissions are permanent, it is important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of the cancer returning. Understanding your risk of recurrence and the treatment options may help you feel more prepared if the cancer does return. Learn more about coping with the fear of recurrence.

If skin cancer returns after the original treatment, it is called recurrent cancer. It may come back in the same place , nearby , or in another place . Certain parts of the body, such as the ears and lips, are more prone to develop recurrent skin cancers. In addition, people whose immune system is suppressed due to a medication or disease are also at higher risk for skin cancer recurrence.

When this occurs, a new cycle of testing will begin again to learn as much as possible about the recurrence. After this testing is done, you and your doctor will talk about the treatment options. Often the treatment plan will include the treatments described above. Your doctor may suggest clinical trials that are studying new ways to treat this type of recurrent cancer. Whichever treatment plan you choose, palliative care will be important for relieving symptoms and side effects.

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How Are Hpv Warts Removed

Speculating about how HPV warts are removed? Its a complicated subject because the warts are mere symptoms of the underlying infection which causes them. The strains of papillomavirus that cause genital warts are strain 6 and 11. As a rule, HPV is not curable. However, resulting warts can be removed, though they may reoccur. See your GP for ongoing treatment for HPVs signs and symptoms.

Genital warts are highly contagious, avoid coitus during periods of wart activity. Youll find that they ebb and flow in conjunction with your health and wellbeing. Large genital warts are likelier to be a clumping of smaller warts. In this, it resembles cruciferous vegetables.

Removal of these nefarious lumps can take many forms. Dermatologists use a range of tools including these medicated creams:

  • Imiquimod
  • Condylox
  • Veregen

Surgical or physical removal options can be contemplated if the warts are not responsive to the above. Burning, freezing, and acids may be trialed to remove a stubborn spread of genital warts.

  • How to Get rid of hickeys fast: Definition, How to cover, overnight removal.
  • Over the Counter Wart, Skin Tag & Mole Removal: Cure, Treatment.

Although folk medicine would have it that banana skins can cure warts, there is scant evidence to support this. However, there is some support for the efficacy of apple cider vinegar

What You Need To Know

  • Skin cancers can be life threatening, but they are easily treated if caught early.
  • Surgery is a common treatment for skin cancer.
  • Surgical options for skin cancer vary according to the location, type and size of the cancerous tissue, as well as the stage of the disease.
  • Surgery for skin cancers can often be performed using local anesthetic in the case of smaller less complicated tumors. Larger or more complicated tumors require operation.

Recommended Reading: Well Differentiated Squamous Cell Carcinoma Stages

Do You Need A Specialist

For many, the decision to bring in a medical specialist is determined by ones health care plan. HMOs require patients to first see a primary care physician, who may then refer them to a specialist. On the other hand, PPO health plans require no referral, allowing patients to choose their own specialist.

Can A Dysplastic Nevus Turn Into Melanoma

Skin Cancer Removal

Yes, but most dysplastic nevi do not turn into melanoma . Most remain stable over time. Researchers estimate that the chance of melanoma is about ten times greater for someone with more than five dysplastic nevi than for someone who has none, and the more dysplastic nevi a person has, the greater the chance of developing melanoma .

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What Doctors And Specialists Treat Skin Cancer

Skin cancer treatment may require a team approach.

Simple skin cancers can usually be handled by a dermatologist in an office setting. More complex cases, however, may require the expertise of several health professionals to both diagnose and treat the cancer.

The experts on your healthcare team can answer important questions and provide valuable information about your diagnosis. The number of providers youll see will depend on the type of skin cancer you have and how advanced it is.

Benefits And Risks Of Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery is considered a lower-risk procedure because it is a minimally invasive procedure that can often be performed in an outpatient setting. People who have Mohs surgery do not typically require an overnight stay at the hospital.

Mohs surgery carries a number of benefits for those who receive it. It is extremely effective at curing skin cancers such as BCC and SCC and it leaves the smallest scar possible, limiting the need for .

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What To Expect During Mohs Surgery

Use this infographic to learn what to expect during mohs surgery.

The visible tumor and a thin layer of surrounding skin are removed.

The tissue is examined under a microscope to see if any cancer cells remain at any of the edges.

If any cancer cells remain, additional skin is removed and examined under the microscope.

This process continues until no more cancer cells are found at the edges.

ImagesImage used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 57:832-5.

ReferencesNouri K, Patel AR, et al. Mohs micrographic surgery. In: Nouri K. Skin Cancer. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., China, 2008:482-490.

Schaeffer M, Geisler A, et al. Patient-reported preferences associated with Mohs micrographic surgery of nonmelanoma skin cancer: Relative importance of factors pertaining to surgeons and staff during the perioperative course. Poster presented at: 74th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology 2016 Mar 4-8 Washington, DC. Commercial support: None identified.

Stigall LE, Brodland DG, et al. The use of Mohs micrographic surgery for melanoma in situ of the trunk and proximal extremities. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 Nov 75:1015-121.

Walker E, Mann M, et al. Rapid visualization of nonmelanoma skin cancer. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 Feb 76:209-16.


How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin

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Because this cancer begins on the skin, its possible to find it early when its highly treatable.

When you see a board-certified dermatologist, your dermatologist will examine your skin carefully.

If your dermatologist finds a spot on your skin that could be any type of skin cancer, your dermatologist will first numb the area and then remove all of it. This can be done during an office visit and is called a skin biopsy. This is a simple procedure, which a dermatologist can quickly, safely, and easily perform.

Having a skin biopsy is the only way to know for sure whether you have skin cancer.

What your dermatologist removes will be examined under a high-powered microscope. Your dermatologist or a doctor who has in-depth experience diagnosing skin growths, such as a dermatopathologist, is best qualified to examine the removed tissue under a microscope.

After examining the removed tissue, the doctor writes a biopsy report. Also called a pathology report, this report explains what was seen under the microscope, including whether any skin cancer cells were seen.

If you have squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, the report will contain the following information when possible:

  • Type of SCC

  • Whether the cancer has any features that make it aggressive

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