What to Know About Mohs Surgery

 By: Susan Slobac
In recent years, Long Beach skin doctors have had a new technique in their arsenal in the battle against melanoma, or skin cancer. Long Beach Mohs surgery is an innovative technique that uses a type of chemical microsurgery known as frozen section histology. When the disease is caught in an early stage, this outpatient procedure can result in a success rate of up to 98%.

The Story of Mohs Surgery

Interestingly, the physician who developed this technique got the idea from a form of alternative medicine known as "Hoxley Therapy." This herbal treatment for cancer dates back to the 19th Century, when a farmer reportedly observed his horse, suffering from a leg tumor, grazing upon specific plants. The tumor later then disappeared. A descendant of this farmer, Harry Hoxley, began promoting this treatment in the 1920s.

The Hoxley method, which is still available in Mexico, consists of applying a paste or administering an herbal tonic along with laxatives and vitamin supplements to treat cancer. The FDA, National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society have reviewed the Hoxley method and report little in the way of real medical value of this treatment. Nonetheless, Dr. Frederick Mohs, who developed the method, found some inspiration in Hoxley's work. Applying a paste made from zinc chloride and bloodroot, he instructed patients to leave it on overnight. This anesthetized the site, facilitating the removal of the malignancy.

Today, patients are given a local anesthetic and the site is actually frozen and numbed, which allows the entire procedure to be completed the same day. One of the big advantages of Long Beach Mohs surgery is that it involves removal of as little healthy tissue as possible. The other advantage is that your locally based Long Beach dermatologist can do this in as little as one office visit.

Early Detection is Key

Of course, it goes without saying that Long Beach Mohs surgery is most effective when the cancer is caught at an early stage. One of the dangers of melanoma is that it is an extremely aggressive form of cancer that can spread, or metastasize rapidly. Once the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, there is little that can be done except for highly invasive surgery combined with the standard radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

If you notice an unusual mole, or sore that refuses to heal, have a Long Beach dermatologist examine you as soon as possible. Chances are that if caught early, Mohs surgery can have the problem dealt with quickly and efficiently.
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