Skin cancer patients see 99% cure rate with MOHS surgery procedure

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 7:21 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - More than five million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year. The most common forms are being treated with a type of surgery now being recognized as the best choice for treatment, and now once again available at Marshfield Clinic Health System in Eau Claire.

Two years ago, Tom Jensen decided to get a bump on his head checked out.

“They took the biopsy and about two days later they called and said, ‘well, let me tell you about skin cancer,’” said Jensen.

That day, Jensen joined the millions of others fighting the most common type of cancer in the United States. Fortunately, he had time and some good news on his side.

“I had the least invasive type of skin cancer, so that was a little more comforting than some of the melanoma they talk about, which is what my mother had,” said Jensen.

Jensen was also able to have a type of surgery that’s now being called the ‘gold standard’ in treating skin cancer.

“The MOHS surgery techique has a cure rate of 99% or better,” said Dr. Peter Lee, one of the most recent staff members added at Marshfield Clinic Health System.

Dr. Lee is a surgeon specially trained to do the MOHS procedure. The surgery is a technique that is done in stages. The surgeon removes the thinnest layer of cancerous skin possible. The wound is bandaged and the tissue sample is sent right down the hall to the lab where it’s immediately evaluated. The surgeon and his staff determine whether all of the cancerous tissue has been removed. If not, the process is repeated until the area is clear and the cancer is gone.

“It’s extremely accurate in how the tissue is removed, how it’s processed and examined and then finally reconstructed,” said Dr. Lee. “It’s definitely the best way to treat skin cancer, especially basal cell carcinomas or squamos cell carcinomas which are the most common skin cancers that we see.”

“I only had to go through two layers last time and they came back and they said, ‘we think we have it all,’” said Jensen.

At his most recent MOHS procedure, Jensen only had to have one layter taken before the cancer was gone.

“Knowing that I’m coming in every year, provides comfort for me that they’re going to catch something before it becomes a real problem,” said Jensen. “I would suggest anyone that has been out in the sun a lot, fishes a lot, golfs a lot, to just do the annual checkup. It can’t hurt and it’s very quick and it could save your life.”

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