Taking a deeper look at skin cancer surgery

If you’ve received a skin cancer diagnosis, you probably have concerns about what that means and how it will be treated, especially if it’s on your face. Dr. Dawes is trained in the latest in skin cancer surgery, Mohs microscopic surgery, which helps to protect the healthy tissue surrounding the cancer. Read on to learn more about this surgery and why you should turn to Dr. Dawes for your skin cancer surgery.

What is Mohs surgery?

Done as an outpatient surgery with local anesthetic, Mohs involves removing thin layers of cancer-containing skin and examining each layer until only healthy tissue remains. The goal of this surgical technique is to remove the skin cancer while doing minimal damage to healthy tissue surrounding it.

What skin cancers can Mohs surgery treat?

Mohs surgery can treat basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, some kinds of melanoma and other skin cancers. It’s ideal for skin cancers that have recurred or have a high chance of recurrence. Patients are especially interested in knowing it’s effective in areas around the eyes, nose, ears, mouth and other areas of the body where you want to preserve surrounding healthy tissue. It’s effective on cancers that are large or aggressive or have borders that are difficult to define.

What can you expect during surgery?

During your procedure, Dr. Dawes will use a scalpel to remove the visible part of the cancer and a thin underlying layer of tissue. He will take the tissue to the lab for analysis, which means some wait time. If, after examination under the microscope, Dr. Dawes sees that you still have cancer in the underlying tissue, he will remove an additional layer of tissue, taking care to leave as much healthy tissue as possible. This process repeats until the last tissue sample is cancer-free.

What happens after surgery?

You will leave your appointment knowing all the cancer has been removed. Depending on the extent of the procedure, Dr. Dawes may let the wound heal on its own, use stitches to close it, or use a skin flap or skin graft to cover it. You’ll return for follow-up visits to make sure your recovery is going well and your wound is healing properly.

If you’d like to learn more about skin cancer treatment, call 403.571.3141 to set up a consultation.


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“My role, in part, is to assist patients through the process of determining which surgical or non-surgical options would help them meet their aesthetic goals and realistic expectations”

Jeffrey C. Dawes MD, FRSC


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