The three most common kinds of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell cancer, and Melanomas. Basal cell cancer is a slow-growing cancer that seldom spreads to other parts of the body. Squamous cell cancer also rarely spreads, but it does so more often than basal cell cancer. Melanomas are a deadly form of skin cancer that can spread to other organs but if caught early can be surgically excised.
It is important that skin cancer be found and treated early because they can invade and destroy healthy tissue nearby.
Surgical excision is recommended for malignant (cancerous) and benign (non-cancerous) skin lesions and growths.
This procedure is performed under local anesthetic in our fully-equipped office and takes approximately 30 minutes, depending on the size of the lesion. Once the target lesion is removed, it is sent to the lab for microscopic examination and the area is brought back together with stitches to allow a faster healing time. These stitches may be dissolvable, where they will be absorbed by your body over the next 90 days, or non-dissolvable, where they will need to be removed in 7-14 days. Depending on the treatment area, it takes approximately 2-6 weeks to heal from an excisional procedure, however most can immediately resume normal daily activities.
We always recommended follow-up appointments after excisional procedures to address and optimize the cosmetic results of the scar.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery
Developed by Frederic E. Mohs, M.D. in the 1930s, Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a highly precise, effective method that excises not only visible skin cancer but also any “roots” that may have extended beneath the surface of skin. The five-year cure rates have been demonstrated up to 99 percent for first-treatment cancers and 95 percent for recurrent cancers.
Mohs surgery is most commonly used for basal and squamous cell carcinomas, although it can be recommended for the eradication of other cancers such as melanoma. Cancers that are likely to recur or have already recurred are often treated using this technique because it is so thorough. High precision makes Mohs surgery ideal for the elimination of cancers in cosmetically and functionally critical areas.
Mohs surgery involves the systematic removal and microscopic analysis of thin layers of tissue at the tumor site until the cancer has been completely eliminated. The immediate and complete microscopic examination and evaluation of excised tissue is what differentiates Mohs surgery from other cancer removal procedures. Only cancerous tissue is removed, minimizing both post-operative wound size and complete removal of the cancer is confirmed microscopically reducing the chance of recurrence. In addition, the entire tumor is cleared and the site repaired in one session. Mohs physicians are highly trained to function as surgeon, pathologist and reconstructive surgeon during the cancer removal process.
Dr. Bierman completed advanced training after her residency in a procedural fellowship accredited by the American College of Mohs Surgery and has performed thousands of skin cancer surgeries as a Dermatologic Surgeon in private practice and a professor at UCLA.Mohs surgery is performed under local anesthetic in our state-of-the art office equipped with surgical and laboratory facilities, and supported by Mohs-trained nursing and technical staff for patient’s who need a cancer tissue to be removed in a cosmetically concerning area.
For more information, visit the American College of Mohs Surgery.
SRT - Superficial Radiation Therapy
Radiation interacts with a cancerous cell and alters the cell’s DNA (or genetic make-up) such that the cancerous cellis not allowed to replicate. This ultimately leads to cell death in the cancerous tumor.
Superficial Radiotherapy (SRT), is a low energy radiotherapy that penetrates only a short distance below the surface skin. It is highly effective and a cosmetically attractive alternative to surgery in selected cancer and patient populations. It is remarkably painless and every similar to having an X-Ray.
SRT is a possible treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer that are found on the surface of the skin. It can be used for lesions on the arms, legs, back and trunk. It is especially well suited for skin cancers of the head and neck regions—the fold in the nose, eyelids, lips, corner of mouth, and the lining the ear—that would otherwise lead to a less than desirable cosmetic outcome.