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The skin protects against infection, injury, heat, and sunlight. The outer layer of the skin is called the epidermis; which contains melanocytes, basal cells, and squamous cells. When the skin has been exposed to sunlight, skin cancer can occur. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer with the highest morbidity rate in the United States. Squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma are often referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers and rarely spread to other areas of the body. At DermASAP in Quincy and Plymouth, we are often asked about treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer. We are happy to explain.

The right treatment is determined by the needs of the patient. We review the patient’s medical history; ask about medications and supplements he or she takes; and examine the areas of concern. If there are any abnormalities, we may order a biopsy. If the biopsy shows there is cancer present, we will discuss treatment options. Our goals for treatment include removing the skin cancer and margin of tissue around the cancer to reduce the chance of recurrence; as well as, preserve nearby skin tissue and keep it as healthy and intact as possible. We strive to minimize scarring by using a precise and specialized technique called Mohs micrographic surgery.

Surgical treatments are effective methods for removing skin cancer and have the highest cure rates. The Mohs surgical technique is highly sought after because of its cure rate of skin cancer (99 percent). It can be ideal for removing cancer previously treated with another method and for delivering the optimal aesthetic results. After the treatment areas have been numbed with local anesthetic, the skin tissue and margins surrounding it are carefully removed. The tissue and its margins are then examined under a microscope. The procedure is repeated until the skin cancer cells are completely removed. The wound is repaired with sutures to ensure optimal recovery and healing. In some cases, reconstructive surgery is recommended.

We know that you may have several concerns and questions while seeking treatment for skin cancer. Rest assured, the DermASAP team will be beside you every step of the way to help you attain optimal health.

Ken Reed

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