Skin Cancer & Mohs Surgery
Skin cancer is, by far, the most common type of cancer in the United States. It is so prevalent that nearly 10,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. The most common causes of skin cancer are exposure to the sun's dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays and a history of childhood sunburns. Even people who do their best to stay covered and use sunblock may be at risk for skin cancer.
Get Screened Today!
Dermatologist and Mohs surgeon Dr. Rebecca Lu at Elite SkinMD provides thorough skin cancer screenings, assessing your skin from scalp to toes. She will carefully document any irregularities noted during an exam and look for changes at your next screening. During your skin exam, Dr. Lu utilizes a dermatoscope to better visualize suspicious growths for a higher degree of accuracy and the earliest possible diagnosis of melanoma and other skin cancers.
Between screenings, you should look for changes in the shape, texture, size, or color of a mole or new skin growth. Be on the lookout for sores that do not heal or growths that become painful, swollen, itchy, or bleed.
When detected and treated early, skin cancer is very curable.
Treatment for Sun-Damaged Skin
Although the sun can cause damage to your skin that is quite severe, thanks to medical advances, it is now possible to reverse some of this damage and improve the look and feel of your skin. In addition to a more youthful appearance, these treatments can help reduce the risk of future skin cancer and help you avoid surgery.
For patients with extreme sun damage or those who tend to regularly develop new skin cancers, Elite SkinMD offers topical creams that can address an entire area of skin susceptible to sun damage. In addition, laser & light therapy, including photodynamic therapy and Fraxel® laser skin resurfacing, are used to target precancerous cells in the skin and stimulate the growth of new, undamaged skin cells in its place.
Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer
Considered the gold standard in skin cancer treatment, Mohs micrographic surgery is the single most effective treatment for basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – the most common skin cancers.
Mohs is a precise procedure that examines 100% of the tumor margin while sparing healthy surrounding tissue. This is particularly important when skin cancer appears on the face or other delicate areas, such as the ears, scalp, fingers, and toes. Very thin layers of skin are removed in stages, until only cancer-free tissue remains. Since Mohs surgery aims to preserve healthy tissue, it leaves only the smallest possible scar.
Cure rates for BCC and SCC approach 98-99% with Mohs surgery, which is higher than any other form of skin cancer treatment used in the past, such as “scrape and burn” electrocautery and standard excision.
Dr. Rebecca Lu at Elite SkinMD in Warren, New Jersey, is fellowship-trained in Mohs and reconstructive surgery. She is renowned for her successful removal of skin cancer with excellent cosmetic results. Dr. Lu has performed more than 5,000 Mohs procedures and is widely considered an expert in the region. If you have skin cancer, you can trust that you are in good hands with Dr. Lu, who can perform Mohs surgery right here in our office with local anesthesia.
Undergoing Mohs? Here’s What You Can Expect
The following step-by-step outline covers the typical Mohs procedure to treat skin cancer, according to the American College of Mohs Surgery:
Because skin cancer may extend beyond what is visible on the surface of the skin, your Mohs surgeon will examine the visible lesion and identify what tissue to remove.
Local anesthesia is supplied, and your Mohs surgeon removes the visible portion of the tumor – the first layer – using precise surgical techniques. Your wound will be temporarily bandaged while the excised tissue is examined in a laboratory.
While you wait, your Mohs surgeon will divide the excised tissue into sections and map exactly where at the surgery site the cancerous cells were found.
Still in the lab, the underside and edges of the excised tissue are examined for any cancerous cells. This allows your doctor to identify precisely where (if any) cancer may remain at the surgery site.
If additional cancer cells are identified in the margins of the excised tissue, your Mohs surgeon will remove another, deeper layer of skin. This removal is strategic and precise, using the lab-created map to target cancer cells only. The lab work described in steps 3 and 4 is repeated with each layer of tissue removed.
The removal process stops when there is no longer any evidence of cancer in the margins of excised tissue. Because Mohs surgery removes only tissue containing cancer, it ensures that the maximum amount of healthy tissue is kept intact and the smallest possible scar develops.
At this point, your Mohs surgeon may discuss reconstruction options such as a skin graft, if necessary, along with post-op care. Recovery from Mohs surgery tends to be easily manageable because of the use of only local anesthesia and the precise surgical techniques.
While all surgeries leave scars, and scar size depends on the size and depth of the cancer, scarring from Mohs surgery is minimized by the precise nature of the procedure. Dr. Lu can further improve the appearance of scars with laser & light therapy after the surgical site has healed.
We also offer the first and only quick-drying silicone gel scar treatment approved by the FDA for post-surgical scar management: BioCorneum® Advanced Scar Treatment.
Preventing Skin Cancer
Regular skin cancer screenings by a qualified dermatologist are one of the most important things you can do to identify and treat signs of cancer as early as possible. If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, your doctor may recommend skin cancer screenings more often than the usual annual exam.
You should also promptly report any suspicious growths to your doctor in between visits. Download and print this handy PDF from the American Academy of Dermatology, How to Spot Skin Cancer™.
Steps you can take to prevent skin cancer from developing in the first place include:
- Limit your time in the sun – especially during the peak hours of 10 am to 3 pm
- Use sunblock that blocks both UVA and UVB rays because it provides better protection than sunscreen
- If using sunscreen, use one with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30; reapply it every 1 ½ hours when in the sun
- Toss expired sunblock and sunscreen because it will be less effective
- Apply sunblock or sunscreen to all exposed skin
- Wear protective clothing when in the sun, including sunglasses
- Avoid tanning beds and lamps
Skin Cancer Screening and Mohs Surgery in Warren, NJ
Dermatologist and Mohs surgeon Dr. Rebecca Lu specializes in skin cancer detection and treatment at Elite SkinMD in Warren, New Jersey. She will identify and biopsy any suspicious growths or moles and inform you of the results and your treatment options, if necessary.
With years of experience and credentials you can trust, Dr. Lu is one of the best skin cancer doctors and Mohs surgeons in Warren, New Jersey, and the surrounding areas. To schedule your skin cancer screening, call Elite SkinMD today at (908) 787-8088 or request an appointment now.