Every year, over four million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer. While anyone of any age can be affected, it is more common in older adults. The risk of skin cancer increases as we age, with one in every five Americans being diagnosed before they reach seventy years old. Dermatologists and other skin doctors are able to administer exams to detect skin cancer. Getting frequent exams is an important part of skin care.
When it comes to treatments, MOHS surgery is considered the Gold Standard.
MOHS surgeries have up to a 98%, sometimes 99% success rate for treating curing skin cancer. This surgical technique aims to remove as much of the cancer as possible while doing little damage to the healthy skin.
If you have an upcoming MOHS procedure, there are four things that you should know beforehand.
Since it is a surgical procedure and not the same as a basic skin care check-up, there are some risks to be aware of. After your treatment, you may experience bleeding, pain, or even infection. While those or the most common risks, there are a few rare complications that may present themselves.
It is possible for the area around the surgery site to be temporarily or permanently numb or weak. You may even feel itching or shooting pain at the site, and sometimes patients are left with a scar.
How To Prepare
As with any surgery, however minor, there are a few steps you will need to take in order to prepare properly. You will need to find a skincare specialist, also known as a dermatologist, who can perform the procedure. Your skin doctor may even ask you to stop using certain medications until after your surgery has been done.
In addition, you should make sure to clear out the entire day as there is a chance you may be there for over four hours.
What To Expect
MOHS surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis, and most patients are done within four hours. You may not even have to change into a surgical gown, depending on where the tumor is located.
Your skin doctor will outline the area to be operated on, then inject it with an anesthetic so you don’t feel any pain. After the treatment, your dermatologist will likely examine the skin one last time before you are cleared to go home.
After your MOHS procedure, you will be able to know your results immediately, as you likely won’t leave the operating room until all of the cancer is gone. After the initial surgery, you will be able to follow up with your skin doctor to make sure everything is healing as it should be.
This procedure has a high success rate, but keep in mind that people who are diagnosed with skin cancer have an increased risk of suffering from it a second time. Around half of skin cancer patients are diagnosed with it again within five years of recovery.
It is important to do follow up visits with a dermatologist because of this likelihood. It is also important to visit a skin care specialist for exams at least once, maybe twice, a year.