Skin Cancer & Mohs Surgery

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Thank you for choosing Dermatology Consultants for all your dermatological needs. Our seven trusted providers have over 120 years of combined experience in the identification, diagnosis, and treatment of skin cancers. Continue reading below to learn more about the various types of skin cancer and the skin cancer treatments we offer at our Lynchburg, VA dermatologists’ office.


About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. People of all ages and skin types are susceptible, particularly those who spend vast amounts of time exposed to sunlight. Doctors link overexposure to the sun as skin cancer’s greatest contributor. Tanning booths can also increase your risk of developing skin cancer, as can exposure to radiation or high altitudes.

Because each type of skin cancer has a different look, effect, and treatment, it is important to be aware of changes in your body. Alert your doctor right away if you notice unusual changes in the size and shape of spots on your body, the coloration of your skin, or the sensitivity and comfort of your body. Time is of the essence when it comes to treatment of cancer. If caught early, our dermatologists can successfully treat many forms of skin cancer.


Types of Skin Cancer

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most prevalent form of skin cancer. It appears as an irregularly shaped blemish or blister that crusts over or bleeds without healing. In some cases it can also cause eyelashes to fall out. While this form of cancer is not usually life threatening, failure to treat it in time can cause serious damage to your tissue and bones.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) often originates on the face and surrounding areas. It can appear as waxy or shiny patches, or as small red or white bumps on the skin. If not treated it can spread to the internal organs and become a life threatening condition.
  • Melanoma is by far the deadliest form of skin cancer. This form of cancer generally begins within moles. While melanoma occurs less frequently than the other forms of skin cancer, it is more dangerous because if not treated quickly it can spread throughout the entire body and lead to death.
  • Actinic Keratoses (AK) can occur as a result of repeated overexposure to UV rays without proper protection, such as sunscreen. When patients are young, if UV rays damage the skin the body can repair the damage. As patients get older, however, it becomes harder and harder for the skin to recuperate from that kind of damage. When UV rays contact skin that is already damaged, AKs (thick, rough, scaly, dry patches of skin) form on the body.

Treatment

The most important thing to remember about treatment for all types of skin cancer is that it is vital to contact your dermatologist immediately if you feel that you are showing symptoms of any of these conditions.

In cases where the skin cancer is relatively small, your doctor will surgically remove the cancerous flesh and then reconstruct the area. In more extreme cases where the cancer is larger or has spread to other areas of the body, measures such as cryosurgery (where the cancer is frozen) or radiation therapy may be recommended by your dermatologist.

Additionally, chemotherapy and Mohs surgery (a procedure where the cancer is taken off in layers) have been successful in eradicating cancerous cells. After surgery it is important to carefully check your skin regularly for recurrences. You should also visit your dermatologist regularly for routine exams.


Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery (or Mohs micrographic surgery) is named for Dr. Frederic Mohs, who first developed the technique. It is the most precise and effective way to treat certain types of skin cancer. The procedure is most frequently used to treat basal cell skin cancer and squamous cell skin cancer, which occur on the head and neck. Additionally, Mohs surgery is also performed in other areas of the body where there is little excess skin and where removing large areas of skin can cause negative aesthetic/cosmetic effects. Mohs surgery is usually not used to treat melanoma. Other elements of Mohs surgery to be aware of are:

  • During Mohs surgery the greatest possible amount of healthy skin tissue is spared while the cancerous tissue is removed in stages—one tissue layer at a time.
  • Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure done under local anesthesia here in Dermatology Consultants’ Lynchburg, VA office. We have a special Mohs skin cancer surgical suite just for the procedure.
  • Our Mohs surgeon uses specialized surgical instruments and personally evaluates each specimen under a microscope to identify and map any cancerous tissue.
  • Additional tissue layers are removed only where cancer cells are present, leaving normal skin intact.
Timing & Same-Day Service Philosophy

Although Mohs surgery can take longer than other skin cancer procedures to perform, today advances in technology have made it a much faster, more comfortable process. While it is impossible to predict the exact amount of time each Mohs surgery will take, the procedure generally lasts several hours. We advise our patients to plan on spending all day with us, but they are often pleasantly surprised with an earlier completion than expected.

Our dermatologists do their best to complete every part of the procedure (skin cancer removal and site repair) on the same day. This prevents patients from having to return for multiple visits to treat the same cancerous spot.

Our Skin Cancer Surgical Suite

Dermatology Consultants is equipped with the newest, most state-of-the art Mohs surgical center in Central Virginia. Our private Mohs reception and waiting area is modern and comfortable with features to enhance your overall experience. Each of our four surgical rooms has a top of the line MidMark 630 procedure table with ultra-premium leather and a best-in-class Ritter 255 LED procedure light that gives the surgeon the best possible environment in which to perform your surgical procedure.

Mohs Surgery Recovery

We are pleased to report that most people are able to return to their normal activities within a few days after Mohs surgery.


Contact Your Lynchburg, VA Dermatologists Today

At Dermatology Consultants we are dedicated to keeping our patients’ skin healthy and beautiful. If you have questions about skin cancer or are exhibiting symptoms and would like to schedule a consultation with one of our dermatologists, please contact us directly or fill out our online appointment request form. You can also call us at (434) 847-6132 to speak with one of our team members.

 

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