UCF Health, the College of Medicine physician practice, is currently expanding its Medical City office in Lake Nona to include a new dermatology suite. The third floor of our current office location is under construction with expectations to be open October 2016. Included in the suite will be a Mohs surgery center.
Mohs surgery is the most effective treatment available for both basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. It has the lowest recurrence rates, highest cure rates and best cosmetic results of any skin cancer treatment. Since sun and UV exposure are the greatest risk factors for these cancers, it’s not surprising that 80 percent of these cancer cases occur on the face and neck — areas where most people do not want to be left with holes or scars on their skin.
With Mohs micrographic surgery, small amounts of skin are “shaved” off in thin layers. This sliver of skin is examined under a microscope by your doctor to see if all the “roots” of the skin cancer have been removed. If it is all clear then no more skin is removed. If it’s not, then another small sliver will be removed until the cancer is completely gone. This can take several hours, but the benefit is that you are able to leave that same day cancer-free, without having to wait on lab results to confirm the cancer is gone. That can often lead to return visits for more surgery. Also, this technique preserves the greatest amount of tissue, since only the tissue with cancer is removed. For particularly large cancers, a flap or skin graft may be needed for reconstruction.
Surgeons must be specially trained in Mohs surgery. Dr. David Weinstein, UCF Health’s dermatologist, is one of a few doctors in the Central Florida area to complete a fellowship in Mohs surgery.
While Mohs is the best treatment of non-melanoma cancers on the face and neck, the best plan of action remains prevention. Avoid sun exposure, and when in the sun cover up and use sunscreen. You should also conduct monthly self-checks on your skin, and see a dermatologist at least once a year for a head-to-toe scan.
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