Barry Leshin, M.D.
President, American College of Mohs Surgery
The American Skin Association reports that one in three citizens will suffer from a skin condition or disease in their lifetime. These conditions vary from eczema and rosacea to life-threatening diseases like melanoma skin cancer. However, most skin diseases can be prevented, treated or even cured.
Root of concern
Overexposure to the sun’s rays causes damage to the skin, skin cells and DNA within. This damage can lead to skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in America. Yet, most cases are preventable by taking two simple steps to preserve skin health: reducing intentional UV exposure, such as indoor or outdoor tanning, and increasing sun protection through the use of sunscreen and protective clothing.
Skin cancer greatly affects quality of life; it can be disfiguring and even deadly. However, medical treatment can be costly. Each year in the United States, nearly 5 million people are treated for all skin cancers combined, with an annual cost estimated at more than $8 billion.
The number of Americans who have had skin cancer at some point in the past 30 years is estimated to be higher than the number for all other cancers combined, and rates of skin cancer incidence are rising worldwide. If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with skin cancer, know that if caught and treated early, nearly all skin cancers can be cured.
There are many acceptable treatment options including cryosurgery, scraping and burning, excision and laser surgery. All require the surgeon to estimate how extensively to treat the area around the tumor.
One treatment method, Mohs surgery, removes the guesswork. The Mohs procedure involves surgically removing skin cancer layer by layer and examining the tissue under a microscope until healthy, cancer-free tissue around the tumor is reached. Because Mohs surgeons are specially trained in surgery, pathology and repair, Mohs surgery has the highest success rate of all skin cancer treatments.
The gold standard
Developed in the 1930s, Mohs surgery has become the most advanced, precise and effective treatment for an increasing variety of skin cancer types. With the Mohs technique, physicians can precisely identify and remove an entire tumor while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact and unharmed.
There are many advantages to Mohs surgery. It not only achieves the highest cure rate of any treatment modality, but it also preserves normal tissue and thereby allows for the best aesthetic outcome.
Skin cancer is serious, and it can be deadly. It can also be prevented by getting your skin examined regularly by a dermatologist.
When it comes to your skin’s health, prevention is worth the attention.
Barry Leshin, M.D., President, American College of Mohs Surgery, [email protected]