Taking care of your skin and performing regular skin checks can prevent the harmful effects of skin cancer. Luckily, if you do develop skin cancer, it can be effectively treated with Mohs surgery at Hamblin Dermatology.
Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure performed under local anesthetic. Dr. Hamblin will carefully shave away layers of damaged skin and examine them under a microscope to determine where the cancerous lesion lies in the skin. The shaving process will continue until Dr. Hamblin is certain there are no more cancerous cells in the area.
The best candidates are those who have just received an early-stage skin cancer, basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis. The necessary treatment may be more complex if the basal cell has had time to spread from the skin to other internal systems. Mohs surgery can help patients with basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, two common types of skin cancer.
Before having Mohs surgery, patients should keep the following things in mind:
- Make sure your surgeon is thoroughly informed of your medical history, including all prescriptions, over-the-counter medication, and dietary supplement usage, well in advance. Depending on your current health circumstances, you might need to start or stop using a certain medication before surgery.
- Before the day of your consultation, inquire with your doctor about post-operative care. Dr. Hamblin will give you detailed instructions for wound cleaning and bandaging to ensure optimal healing and minimal scarring but it’s always important to ask follow-up questions.
- Have patience. Mohs surgery can take 2 hours or more because Dr. Hamblin works diligently to remove the layers of affected skin one at a time and then examine the progression of the cancerous lesion at each layer. Bring snacks, drinks, a phone charger, or a book to help you pass the time.
- Recognize the possibility of adverse effects. The typical local anesthetic used by Mohs surgeons, lidocaine, may cause slight redness, discomfort, or swelling when injected. Some patients may experience a rapid heartbeat, trembling, or lightheadedness, especially if the surgery involves multiple stages and additional injections. If you experience any of these symptoms, tell your doctor right away.
- Patience after your procedure is also important. You may have to return for follow-up appointments for weeks or months after the procedure so that Dr. Hamblin can make sure your wound is healing properly and no new growths are developing. The results may also take some time to look their best since Mohs surgery will leave a small scar. It can take some time for this scar to fade over time but laser treatment can help improve its appearance.
Performing self-exams for skin cancer and getting yearly cancer tests are important for everyone, especially if you’re over the age of 35. You can also prevent skin cancer with a daily application of broad-spectrum sunscreen and make sure to reapply if you are out in the sun for an extended time. UV-protective clothing and limiting your sun exposure can also help keep your skin healthy and youthful.
Skin cancer can be scary but it is easily treatable if the lesion is diagnosed and treated early. If you have concerns about new skin lesions or marks, schedule a consultation with Dr. Hamblin today. He can perform a skin biopsy and discuss your treatment options to help you regain healthy skin.