Mohs Micrographic Surgery is widely considered the “gold standard” for skin cancer treatment. Living in Stockton you have access to a specialist, Dr. Gerald Bock, who trained with the Dr. Frederic E. Mohs. The late general surgeon pioneered this technique.
Yes, MMS is a precise treatment for certain types of cancers. But is it the best skin cancer treatment in Stockton for you?
Types of cancer
Aktinic or solar keratoses, often look like scaly, crusty patches, or like warts that can turn red.
These “precancers,” as they are known, have the potential to also evolve into the most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, or the second most common type, squamous cell carcinoma.
Almost all AKs can be removed if caught early. Generally, AKs have been eliminated with everything from freezing techniques where the growth shrinks, blisters, and eventually falls off, to topical medications and photodynamic therapy (or some combo thereof). The lesion may be scraped, chemicals may be used to peel off the affected area, and lasers may be used as a primary treatment or secondary when medications and other techniques fail.
Rarely, the common basal cell carcinoma can be quite dangerous and spread. California Skin & Laser can intervene with many of the same types of techniques mentioned above. However, there has also been an oral medication approved by the FDA for advanced BCC. Excisional surgery, radiation, and electrodessication involving an electric needle are also potential treatments. If your tumor is large, has come back, is hard to pinpoint or in critical and obvious areas (such as the eyes, nose, lips, ears, temple, scalp, and fingers) Dr. Bock may recommend Mohs Micrographic Surgery.
Squamous cell carcinoma also looks like red, crusty patches or warts. Treatment for SCC is similar to that for BCC. Also like BCC, this type of cancer can in rare cases spread to lymph nodes, tissues, and organs. This feature underscores the importance of getting treatment early, before the tumors enlarge and spread, requiring extensive treatment.
Generally, dysplastic nevi or atypical moles look worse than they actually are. Since they are often dark and flat, it’s easy to see how people mistake them for melanoma. Also, those with 100-plus moles and other “atypical” characteristics like a diameter larger than one-third of an inch are at far greater risk of melanoma. It’s critical for those with these moles to regularly examine their skin and have professional skin checks. Since there are dangers associated with this type of condition, treatment may involve removal of the affected area, depending on the results of tests. Moles may also be removed for cosmetic reasons.
Many people have heard of melanoma. Mohs Micrographic Surgery has the highest rates of success and is considered the most precise way to remove this type of cancer, as well as other recurrent or more complex cancers.
Generally, Dr. Bock will progressively remove one layer of cancer-containing skin at a time. Examining each layer of tissue under the microscope, tissue will be removed until there are no signs of cancer. In this way, surgical staff can verify all cancerous cells have been eradicated.
There is no one preferred way to treat every person and his or her cancer. Treatment depends on the type of cancer (or precancer) and the size, depth and location of concerning areas. Whatever the case may be, don’t wait. Call 209-751-4292 to schedule an appointment with California Skin & Laser. Also be sure to regularly schedule skin checks with us, so you never have to live with the “what ifs” of a strange-looking growth or changing condition.