Skin Cancer & Mohs Surgery
A skin cancer diagnosis can be frightening and confusing for anybody. The board-certified dermatologists of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery are there every step of the way to answer your questions, address your concerns, and offer superior care from diagnosis to treatment, as well as put you at ease with their compassion and kindness.
Dr. Matthew B. Quan treats skin cancer using Mohs micrographic surgery at our Mt. Kisco practice. Dr. Quan has successfully completed a Mohs fellowship, which means he's been extensively trained to complete this unique, specialized, and highly successful procedure.
If you've been diagnosed with skin cancer, or if you'd like to learn more about preventive care, request a consultation online, or call The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery at (914) 241-3003.
Curious about the results you can expect? See our work for yourself with our gallery of real patient before-and-after photos.
Though skin cancer is typically associated with excessive sun exposure, UV rays aren't always the culprit. Family history, immune disorders, and a history of precancerous lesions can also lead to the development of the disease, so it's important to visit a board-certified dermatologist, such as the ones at The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, for routine skin checks.
The symptoms of skin cancer can often mimic those of common benign skin conditions. Here, we'll examine some of the symptoms of the most common types of skin cancer. Though a change in your skin does not automatically mean you have cancer, it's a good idea to have any of the following symptoms examined by a dermatologist.
Ending Skin Cancer
Dr. David Bank is member of the elite Amonette Circle, a group of physicians who have pledged $25,000 and lifetime support to The Skin Cancer Foundation. Through these pledges, each member of the Circle helps to further the efforts of the Foundation, including public outreach and medical consulting.
Basal cell carcinoma: The most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma commonly develops in areas that are prone to sun exposure, such as the face and neck. Basal cell carcinoma is highly treatable, especially if detected early. Be on the lookout for these symptoms:
- A waxy, pearly, or flesh tone bump
- A flat lesion that may be brown or flesh colored
Squamous cell carcinoma: Slightly less common than basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma can occur on any part of the body, especially those that are exposed to sunlight. On people with darker complexions, squamous cell carcinoma often develops on areas that don't have much sun exposure, such as the feet. Squamous cell carcinoma often appears as:
- A thick, rough, or scaly patch of skin that bleeds easily and doesn't go away
- A firm, reddish nodule
Melanoma: Melanoma appears more commonly on the torso, head, and neck of men, and on the lower legs of women. However, melanoma can occur on any part of the skin, regardless of sun exposure. It can also develop when an existing mole becomes cancerous. People with darker complexions may develop melanoma on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet, as well as under nails. The symptoms of melanoma include:
- A mole that changes in size, color, or texture
- A small, irregularly shaped lesion that may be bluish-black, blue, red, or white
- A large, brown, speckled spot
- A dark lesion on the soles, toes, palms, fingers, or the inside of the mouth
If you've been diagnosed with skin cancer, you may be eligible for Mohs micrographic surgery at our Mt. Kisco office. This innovative procedure can only be performed by physicians who have successfully completed special training, including our own Dr. Quan.
Though there are several effective skin cancer treatments available today, Mohs surgery is indicated for basal and squamous cell carcinomas and offers the highest cure rate. Mohs surgery is a complex procedure that combines surgical excision with immediate microscopic examination of the tissue. All Mohs procedures follow these steps:
- The skin is numbed with lidocaine, a local anesthetic.
- The visible tumor, along with a thin layer of skin, is surgically removed.
- The removed tissue is surgically divided into portions that are numbered, mapped, color coded, and stained.
- The removed portion is examined under a microscope to determine whether the entire tumor has been removed.
- If the surgeon determines that the tumor has been completely removed, the skin is repaired and the patient may return home. If the removed portion shows that some tumor still remains, the above steps are repeated until the cancer has been completely removed.
This advanced technique preserves more healthy tissue than previous surgical methods, as great care is taken to only remove diseased skin. However, Mohs surgery can be time consuming. Because examination of each removed portion may take up to 1 hour, the surgery can last for the better portion of a day. Dr. Quan advises his Mohs patients to ensure that the entire day is free.
In most cases, the wound resulting from Mohs surgery may be closed with stitches. However, in some cases, skin grafts or a flap procedure may be necessary. In other cases, you may choose to leave the wound open to heal on its own. Dr. Quan helps his patients decide which option is best for them.
If the targeted skin cancer is on your face, you should keep your head elevated for 1 to 2 weeks following surgery. If the lesion is near your eye, you may develop 1 or 2 black eyes following surgery, with the worst of the condition developing around day 3. Though this can be alarming, no treatment is necessary. A cold compress can help reduce the appearance of bruising.
Careful wound care is necessary for several weeks following surgery, even if the wound looks like it has healed well. It's important not to plan any vacations or social events for several weeks following surgery. Dr. Quan will provide you with a more specific set of instructions prior to your surgery.
If you've been scheduled for Mohs surgery with Dr. Quan and you'd like to save time in the waiting room, you may print out and complete an informed consent form at your home or office. Be sure to bring the completed form with you on the day of your surgery.