The Los Angeles area is a prime place for skin cancer concerns to thrive. With a global reputation for always being sunny (and a population that likes to show off skin), damaging interactions between ultraviolet radiation and sensitive skin cells are more than common. While physical protection against sun exposure is the best strategy for minimizing cancer risk, the fact remains that millions of people deal with the disease each year. It’s the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States.
All that said, skin cancer is highly treatable—especially if detected early. The two most common forms—basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma—respond especially well to a specialized treatment known as Mohs micrographic surgery. Los Angeles-based dermatologist Dr. Naissan Wesley at Skin Care & Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills is trained in the advanced technique, providing a treatment known to have up to a 99 percent success rate.
Mohs involves the meticulous removal and study of skin cells, with Dr. Wesley working layer by layer to remove all detectable traces of skin cancer. Each small sample is scrutinized closely to determine whether cancer cells are present. When the margins of a tumor-containing area are clear, there is no need to continue.
This approach has two main benefits: First, it is incredibly thorough. As opposed to removing a large chunk of tissue and hoping that it was enough to also take out the cancer cells, Mohs is based on precision and knowledge of where cancer cells stop and healthy skin begins. Second, because the work is so precise, Mohs maximizes treatment effectiveness while minimizing cosmetic impact. Only the strictest amount of layers necessary to treat the problem are removed. This makes Mohs ideal for sensitive and highly visible areas where basal or squamous cell carcinoma has developed.
Post-treatment check-ups are important to monitor the area and determine whether there are any more skin cancer concerns, but patients typically find that Mohs is incredibly effective.
Dr. Derek Jones is a renowned Los Angeles and Beverly Hills area dermatologist practicing in cosmetic and general dermatology.