BCC recurrence rate gives the case for Mohs surgery

 February 19, 2013
Posted by sabrina

In this interview, Sabrina Shah-Desai, a consultant Oculoplastic surgeon and part of the Skin Care Network Mohs team, explains why Mohs surgery is recommended and for which types of skin cancer.

Mohs surgery now has a good evidence base for certain skin cancers. The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) has reviewed research to show that the recurrence rate (when tumours return) of Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCCs) is significantly lower than with ordinary excision.

BCCs and SCCs are the most common type of non-melanoma skin cancers. When located in difficult, high risk areas, such as the eyes, nose, lips and ears, Mohs should be the first choice of surgery, as it is a precise technique which spares normal tissue. It is also chosen when there is a recurrence.

“Current evidence shows that the recurrence rate for BCC with normal wide excision is up to five per cent,” Sabrina says. “With Mohs surgery that figure is less than one per cent. So the treatment has a real role in beating skin cancer.”

And if we are treating a tumour that comes back, then the chance of being completely clear using Mohs is 90-96 per cent, while with normal surgery it is 80 per cent. This is looking at recurrence rates within five years.

However, despite Government aims to have cancer treatment available for everyone in the UK, Mohs surgery is very much concentrated in London, and even then towards West and North London. “Access to treatment is the key, but not everyone has access in Britain,” says Sabrina. “Some NHS Trusts do not refer patients for Mohs because they do not have the facility in their region.”

At Skin Care Network you are offered the expertise of London’s largest skin cancer Multidisciplinary Team and the reassurance that you will receive expert and prompt treatment.

Mrs Sabrina Shah-Desai, MS, FRCS (Ophth), is a Consultant Ophthalmologist & Oculoplastic Surgeon