There are a variety of skin cancer surgery procedures to consider based on your type of cancer and how much it has spread. The most common skin cancers are referred to as “nonmelanoma skin cancers” and are slow growing and easily treatable.
Basal cell carcinomas (which comprise about 90 percent of all skin cancer diagnoses) fall under this category, as do squamous cell carcinomas. Neither of these varieties usually metastasizes, but they are considered malignant due to their ability to destroy surrounding tissue.
The most common surgical procedure for treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancers is Mohs surgery. Also known as chemosurgery, the cure rate is very high – 98 percent or greater for both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.
Mohs surgery is a four-step process that entails surgically removing sections of tissue, examining each specimen, mapping the cancerous areas and – when all cancerous cells have been removed – performing reconstructive surgery.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Surgery is required to remove the primary melanoma as well as any cancerous lymph nodes. Surgical procedures to treat melanoma include local excision, wide local excision, lymph node dissection and sentinel lymph node biopsy. Cure rates vary widely and are largely dependent upon how early melanoma is detected and how far it has metastasized in the body.