There are three words which change a person’s life forever: “You have cancer.”
It is natural that the idea of a life-threatening condition could give you the shudders. Everyone has a weak point after they hear these three words. That makes you human.
When you realize that today’s treatment options are better than ever before, with survival rates going through the roof, then the feelings of fear transform into determination.
If you’re still struggling with the idea of a surgery, then here is some information to help you take those next steps forward.
#1. You’re awake for most procedures.
Skin cancer surgeries are named after Frederic Mohs, who developed the removal technique all the way back in the 1930s. The physician goes through each layer of the skin, using microscopic analysis, to only remove the disease. You’re awake for the procedure because it is done under local anesthesia almost all the time.
#2. You can have it done almost anywhere on the body.
The Mohs surgery is usually performed on squamous cell or basal cell cancers, but it can sometimes be useful in the treatment of melanoma too. Patients have the procedure around their mouth, nose, eyes, or ears because of how effective it is at removing the cancer. It’s approved for use on the hands, neck, or feet too.
#3. You are in-and-out of the doctor’s office quickly.
If your physician recommends Mohs surgery for your skin cancer diagnosis, then it is an outpatient procedure you will schedule. Most patients are at the office for three hours or less on the day of their appointment. The surgeon will take the first layer of tissue, which takes about 10 minutes to complete, and then you’ll want about 30 minutes while it is examined. You’ll then get stitched up or have another layer removed. That pattern continues until the cancer is gone.
#4. You will not be in a lot of pain.
Except for the stick of the needle and the pressure of the tissue removal, the lidocaine you receive eases the discomfort of this procedure for about three hours. Most patients experience only minimal pain afterward. Unless the tumor removed is over a joint, it is possible to walk away from this procedure without the need for prescription-strength painkillers.
#5. You will receive a minimal scar.
Although you will see a noticeable scar from this procedure, its appearance will begin to fade in about six months. The redness fades during that time too, creating a minimal visual impression. Complete healing occurs in two years for most patients, causing the region to turn the same color as the skin tones around the area.
Then there is the success rate for this procedure to consider. The Mohs surgical intervention for skin cancer touts a cure rate of 99%.
That doesn’t mean those three words you hear from the doctor aren’t going to impact you in negative and sometimes severe ways.
It does mean that you have options for your future that can help you quickly and easily get into remission, so you don’t need to be scared of that skin cancer surgery.