It’s not uncommon for patients diagnosed with skin cancer or their relatives to research for the information whether it is better to address an oncologic surgeon or a dermatologist for removal of the malignant growth.
The question usually appears because nobody wants to have visible scars or additional surgeries, and people are starting to hesitate. Will the dermatologist be accurate enough? Or maybe the oncologic surgeon will do it better? Will I need to address the plastic surgeon to remove the consequences of the operation?
Let’s try to figure it out.
A dermatologist is a doctor who treats various skin diseases. Some of them get specific training to become dermatologic surgeons or Mohs surgeons. The training includes learning how to perform repairs with minimal cosmetic damage. Dermatologists treat most basal and squamous cell cancers as well as pre-cancers and some particular cases of melanoma. If a dermatologist is not trained to treat skin cancers surgically, he or she will redirect you to the appropriate expert.
An oncologic surgeon is a doctor who does surgery to treat cancer. Doctors of this type usually deal with more advanced cancers. You can ask a particular oncologic surgeon about the realistic expectations on the surgery results and his or her expertise in plastic surgery. In severe cases, when the tumor reaches deeper tissues, the appearance could not be a #1 priority, and you might require a postoperative surgical reconstruction.
Mohs surgery is utilized when skin cancer appears on the areas where the skin is thin, or those which are functionally important, like face, ears, scalp, wrists, feet or genitals, the key task is to save as much healthy tissue as possible while ensuring that all cancerous cells are excised.
This technique allows sparing more healthy tissue and keeps scarring minimal while removing all cancerous cells within a single operation. Such result is achieved due to the fact that the doctor fulfills three functions – tumor excision, specimen analysis and wound reconstruction – during the operation day. When the patient leaves doctor’s office, he or she could be sure that the site of operation is cancer-free.
We have a set of articles covering all aspects of Mohs micrographic surgery:
Please note that MMS is not appropriate for every skin cancer. You need to consult your dermatologist to find out is it indicated in your particular case.
Essential things in skin cancer treatment are early detection and accurate, timely treatment. Choose an expert you feel you can trust, but don’t forget to check the reviews and some options that are important to you. If you think that you need a second opinion, ask your doctor how to get it.
Arsenault Dermatology provides both surgical excision and Mohs surgery for skin cancer with its state-of-the-art surgical facilities located in Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch. If you have any questions regarding skin cancer treatment, do not hesitate to contact us. Our team will be happy to help you!