Can Skin Cancer come back after Mohs Surgery?

Mohs Surgery - VishwaRaj Hospital

Mohs surgery, named after Frederic E. Mohs, is a common surgery used for the treatment of skin cancer. In this surgical procedure, there is continuous removal of the cancerous skin layers till there are only cancer-free tissues. 

The main objective of this revolutionary surgery is to remove the maximum amount of cancerous cells. However, it is done at the expense of minimal damage to the healthy cells surrounding the cancer cells. Mohs surgery is a popular choice for treating squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and different melanoma types.

What is the cure rate of Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery has a cure rate of 99 percent within five years. In the case of recurring cancers, it has a cure rate of 95 percent. It is why the recurrence or the chances of skin cancer coming back is very rare.

Possible reasons for the recurrence of skin cancer

There are some causes that can attribute to skin cancer coming back. Check out some of the possible reasons listed here.

  • Melanoma: Out of all the skin cancer types, melanoma is the most aggressive one. It also spreads quickly to other parts of the body. It may be that cancer spread to other body parts and made a re-appearance.
  • Family history: If anyone in your family has a history of cancer recurrences, you might also have it. It is one of the possible reasons that can cause cancer to come back.
  • Missed cells: It is highly possible that the surgeon missed some cancer cells during the surgery. In that case, the cancerous cells will spread and bring back cancer.
  • Overlooked tumor: There are various symptoms of different skin cancer types. It might be that the surgeon overlooked or misunderstood the signs and did not remove them. As a result, there is a high possibility of cancer recurring. 

Choosing a surgeon for Mohs surgery

If you have any doubt, taking a second opinion is a wise decision. You can visit another dermatologist. Mohs surgery is a challenging technical surgery. Some surgeons even attain a specialized training – fellowship to master the skill.

Moreover, it is advisable to look into the certifications and experience of the surgeon before proceeding. You can also take a look at the patient testimonials before making a decision. 

Risks associated with Mohs surgery

Even though Mohs surgery is quite safe, there are some possible risks. These include –

  • Infection
  • Bleeding at the area where surgery occurs
  • Pain in the region (the place from where the skin layer was removed)
  • Development of an enlarged, raised scar (keloid scar)
  • Numbness in the area of skin removal (it can be permanent or temporary)
  • Itching in the surgical area
  • Weakness in the tread, permanent or temporary (it can be if the tumor was large and a muscle nerve got cut)

Mohs surgery has an impressive success rate. However, there is always a small chance of cancer recurrence. Also, you may develop another type of skin cancer. It is why ensuring the follow-up visits to the dermatologist is so essential. Moreover, the doctor will undergo various diagnostic tests and ensure that you are free from cancer.

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