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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Mohs Surgery Solution


This article on Mohs surgery by Dr. Patel appeared in the January 2013 issue of DeSoto Magazine. It addresses skin cancer and the most effective surgery available to treat it. If you have questions about the procedure, call Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Associates at 901-759-2322 or leave a comment on this post. 

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 3.5 million cases diagnosed and treated each year. On average, one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetimes – despite the fact that many types of skin cancer are preventable!

Although not the most common, melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, accounting for fewer than 5 percent of skin cancer cases but the vast majority of deaths. The incidence of melanoma increased by 800 percent for women and 400 percent for men from 1970 to 2009. This makes it the only cancer of the seven most common with an increasing incidence.

Luckily, like other skin cancers, melanoma is treatable and preventable. About 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet radiation, and a person’s risk for the cancer doubles after he or she suffers five sunburns at any age. The best way to avoid skin cancer and, specifically melanoma, is to wear sunscreen with at least 30 SPF every day – even in the winter! It’s also important to consider long sleeves, hats or other protective clothing.

If you are at risk or if you have developed melanoma or another skin cancer already, it can be treated quite effectively. Unlike other cancers, skin cancer does not often require multiple rounds of chemotherapy or radiation. In fact, it can often be removed if caught early through a simple outpatient procedure known as Mohs surgery.

Developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs, Mohs micrographic surgery is the most advanced and effective treatment procedure for skin cancer available today. The procedure is performed by specially trained surgeons. Mohs surgeons complete at least one additional year of fellowship training with a Mohs College member in addition to a three-year dermatology residency and a one-year medicine residency. With the Mohs technique, surgeons are able to see beyond the visible disease to precisely identify and remove entire tumors layer by layer, leaving surrounding healthy tissue intact and unharmed. As the most exact and precise method of tumor removal, it minimizes the chance of re-growth and lessens the potential for scarring or disfigurement.

Because Mohs surgeons are specially trained in surgery, pathology and reconstruction, Mohs surgery has the highest success rate of all treatments for skin cancer − up to 99 percent. The Mohs technique is also the treatment of choice for cancers of the face and other sensitive areas, as it relies on the accuracy of a microscopic surgical procedure to trace the edges of the cancer and ensure complete removal of all tumors down to the roots.

“The increase in skin cancers is alarming,” said Dr. Purvisha Patel, physician and owner of Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Associates. “But our advances in treating these cancers are promising. Mohs surgery is constantly evolving and improving, and we are able to treat a variety of skin cancers very effectively.”


  1. Good information. Moh surgical treatment is unlikely to modify your life. Most board-certified doctors invest a lot of time meeting with people who need mohs surgical treatment.

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