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MUSC Physicians Offer Skin Cancer Treatment with Highest Cure Rate

Dr. Leach
Dr. Brian Leach
The most common form of cancer in the Unites States is skin cancer, both nonmelanoma and melanoma. A very precise surgery was developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs, a general surgeon at the University of Wisconsin.  This treatment specifically targets the area with little guesswork, and removes the cancer in stages, at each tissue layer. Mohs surgery has the highest cure rate of any skin cancer treatment. Only the visible tumor and a very small border of normal appearing tissue is removed. More importantly, the entire surgical margin is microscopically examined to identify any microscopic roots and the procedure is repeated until all cancer is removed rendering a cure rate of 99% for most skin cancers (versus less than 1% of the margin examined in traditional surgery and cure rates with traditional surgery that are grossly inferior).

Nonmelanoma skin cancer is the most common human malignancy and is estimated to be increasing at approximately 10%/year. Over 2 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) will be treated in the U.S. this year. Melanoma is increasing at alarming rates. The incidence of melanoma has increased over 1300% since the 1930's.

Dr. Cook
Dr. Joel Cook
At MUSC, Dr. Joel Cook and Dr. Brian Leach are the fellowship-trained Mohs surgeons by the The American College of Mohs Surgery. The Dermatological Surgical laboratory has very experienced and skilled technicians to ensure the highest level of care. MUSC's Mohs practice is one of South Carolina's most experienced in dealing with Mohs surgery for melanoma - a potentially deadly skin cancer. Successful use of Mohs for melanoma requires extensive experience and training for both the surgeon and the lab. The practice at MUSC participates in melanoma research and clinical trials. Mohs for melanoma is especially important in treating recurrent melanoma or melanoma on the head/neck, hands and feet. These surgeons are experienced in addressing the common to rare cancers and clinical situations. The treatment  is offered every day in two locations: Rutledge Tower and MUSC Specialty Care - North, on University Blvd.

The reconstructive procedure is typically completed the same day in the clinic under local anesthesia without the need of an operating room or additional surgeons. This outpatient surgery has been proven in clinical trials to be safe, efficient and cost-effective.


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