Mohs Surgery or Radiation Therapy for Skin Cancer
If you’ve been diagnosed with basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer and are looking for the best treatment option, it’s important to understand what’s available. Mohs surgery and radiation are two common treatment options.
What is Mohs Surgery?
You’ve probably heard about Mohs surgery, but might not know exactly what it is. Mohs surgery, also called Mohs micrographic surgery, is an excellent option for skin cancer treatment in which the affected area is numbed and all visible skin cancer is removed with a small scalpel. Next, your doctor removes a thin layer of surrounding skin and examines it under a microscope to look for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, another layer of skin is removed. This process continues until no cancer cells are found.
The biggest advantage of Mohs is your doctor has the ability to see exactly where the cancer starts and stops, which allows you to keep as much healthy skin as possible—it also has a high cure rate.
How does radiation treat skin cancer?
Getting a radiation treatment is similar to getting an x-ray, except the radiation is stronger and aimed precisely at the cancer. Radiation therapy can often cure small basal or squamous cell skin cancers.
Radiation therapy is also used to treat more advanced skin cancers that may have spread to the lymph nodes or other organs.
Is Mohs surgery or radiation therapy the best skin cancer treatment?
Mohs surgery is the gold standard for many head and neck cancers, however it’s not right for everyone. Those who are older, may want to avoid scars or skin grafts, are on blood thinners, have multiple medical co-morbidities or have lesions on difficult-to-repair locations may not be the best candidates. Additionally, some people prefer nonsurgical treatment options.
In addition to nonsurgical options, radiation therapy is used either postoperatively for skin cancers with adverse features or for patients with positive margins after Mohs surgery or standard surgery.
If you’re interested in finding out if radiation for skin cancer or Mohs surgery is right for you, we encourage you to consult your dermatologist and a radiation oncologist to get the facts before making a treatment decision. You can also contact Regional Cancer Care Associates today. We’ve recently combined forces and resources with Princeton Radiation Oncology (PRO), which means we can provide state-of-the-art care for every type of cancer in a sanctuary of precision, excellence and commitment.