Why am I facing Mohs Micrographic Surgery in Mill Creek?
The diagnosis of skin cancer can be a frightening experience. Although not all skin cancers are lethal, all of them should be taken seriously. Detecting and treating pre-cancerous lesions by having regular skin examinations with a board-certified dermatologist is an ideal way to try to prevent skin cancers from developing. When prompt attention is given to skin cancer, the chances of adverse health consequences can be significantly diminished.
The two most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are best treated by Mohs Micrographic Surgery, as it has the highest cure rate of any treatment for these types of skin cancer. Dieter Schmidt, MD, FAAD, FACMS, is a fellowship-trained Mohs Micrographic Surgeon who performs Mohs Surgery in our Mill Creek and Smokey Point offices.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer and will commonly develop on areas of the skin that have been chronically exposed to the sun, and are usually more prevalent in fair-skinned Caucasians. This form of skin cancer is typically not one that is life threatening, as it rarely metastasizes. However, because it will destroy surrounding tissues and can cause disfigurement and can spread if left long enough, basal cell carcinoma should still be addressed as soon as possible.
Squamous cell carcinoma also tends to develop on body parts frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, arms and legs. They have a higher risk of metastasis than basal cell carcinomas. Squamous cell skin cancer also has a higher recurrence rate.
These two common types of skin cancer are concerning to many, but none are as feared as melanoma. This is understandable, as melanoma can spread very quickly. However, if caught early, it is curable.
Risk factors for developing skin cancers include:
- Sunburns, especially blistering sunburns, as well as chronic sun exposure to UV rays in tanning beds.
- Human papilloma virus, or HPV, can cause squamous-cell carcinoma.
- Lighter skin tones are more susceptible to UV rays, and have a higher risk of skin cancers.
- Gender: women are more susceptible to melanoma than men are.
- Genetics: melanoma is more common if you have a family member that has had a melanoma
- A weakened immune system, whether from medical treatment or from chronic illness, can increase one’s risk of skin cancer.
The more you know about the risk factors for skin cancer, the better you can prevent it. We encourage our patients to wear wide-brimmed hats and at least an SPF30 sunscreen when exposed to the sun for prolonged periods. We also encourage our patients to use a daily moisturizer or foundation that has an SPF 15 or 30 throughout the year, as UV rays can even reach the skin on cloudy, rainy days, and pass through the glass of car windows. It is not necessary to completely avoid the sun, but it is very important to practice excellent sun protection.
When skin cancer is detected, our practice uses the innovative Mohs surgery technique to pinpoint the affected tissue and remove it with precision. Mohs boasts the highest cure rate of any treatment for skin cancer, and removes the least amount of normal surrounding skin so that the cosmetic result is optimized. The surgery is performed under local anesthetic in the office.
Contact North Sound Dermatology to schedule a skin examination by one of our board-certified dermatologists. Call our Mill Creek office 1-425-678-3653.