How Does Mohs Surgery Compare To Radiation For Skin Cancer Treatment?
There are many ways to treat skin cancer, each with its benefits and risks. “It’s important that patients be informed of their options,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, Dermatologist and skin cancer expert in Austin, Texas. “It is important that patients be aware of all their options and alternative treatments, to ensure they are receiving the optimal treatment for condition.”
Is Mohs surgery the Gold Standard?
Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a precision procedure in which a qualified surgeon carefully removes layer after layer of cancer-containing skin in a localized area until only cancer-free tissue remains. “Many consider Mohs the gold standard for skin cancer treatment on account of its benefits,” says Dr. Mamelak.
- Highest cure rate for both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma
- Tissue preservation can be given more weight due to excising the tumor in layers
- Procedure can be done out-patient
- Local anesthesia only
- Allows surgeons to verify that all of the cancer has been removed, reducing the chances of a recurrence
- More cost-effective, as general anesthesia, operating rooms and overnight hospital stays are rare.
- While the actual surgery is short, the patient is required to wait in the doctors office for a few hours while the tissue is being processed
- Injections of local anesthesia are needed, which can cause minor discomfort
- Risk of scarring, although this is lower than other treatment modalities
What is Superficial Radiation Therapy?
Superficial Radiation Therapy is a kind of radiation therapy which is focused on a localized area and goes no deeper than the thickness of the patient’s skin. Since it is not a systemic treatment, like chemotherapy, or a surgical treatment,the risks of side effects and complications are reduced.
- Short procedure time
- No anesthesia
- Effective against localized tumors
- Requires numerous treatment visits, in some cases up to 20
- Not a good option for poorly circumscribed tumors or invasive disease
- Long-term cure rates and the chances of recurrence have not been fully established
- Risk of both short and long-term problems such as growth of scar tissue, radiation dermatitis, and the development of new skin cancers in the treatment area have been reported
For more information about either of these procedures, other treatment options, or to have your skin checked by one of our dermatologists, contact us.