There are several types of surgery used to treat skin cancer. Which method is used is dependent upon the type of skin cancer that is being treated.
Types of skin cancer surgery include the following:
With the use of a scalpel, the physician removes the cancer as well as closely surrounding skin which is examined for evidence of skin cancer cells. This type of surgery is used for melanoma up to stage 2 and sometimes for basal cell cancer and squamous cell carcinoma.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery
The visible tumor is removed by a trained Mohs physician along with an extremely thin layer of tissue surrounding it. That layer is then sectioned and frozen, so that they physician can inspect the tissue in great detail.
If additional cancer is discovered, the procedure occurs again on the surrounding area until the final layer inspected under a microscope appears cancer-free. This technique is often used on difficult and recurring tumors, or tumors located in challenging places on the body such as hand, feet, around the eyes or nose.
Curettage and Electrodesiccation (Electrosurgery)
Most commonly used for smaller lesions, this technique uses a curette and low grade heat which comes from either electrocautery or a “solder-type” probe. The heat probe is used to melt the tissue, and it is then scraped with the curette. The process is repeated three times during the treatment for the purpose of removing surrounding cancer cells that may exist near the surgery site. This process is commonly used for early, or non-invasive squamous cell carcinomas or basal cell cancers.