How Are Cancerous Moles Removed?

How Are Cancerous Moles Removed?

Cancerous moles can be removed through simple excision or through Mohs surgery, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Depending on the size of the area excised, the patient may need follow-up reconstructive surgery.

Mohs surgery is especially effective for squamous and basal cell skin cancers, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. During this surgery the surgeon removes the lesion one layer at a time and immediately examines it under a microscope. If cancer is still found on the edges of the tissue layer, he removes another layer until the area is cancer free. This procedure not only removes the cancer but spares healthy skin.

Melanomas, which are different type of skin cancers, were not usually treated with Mohs surgery in the past, claims the Skin Cancer Foundation. This was because medical experts feared that cutting into these types of cancers caused them to spread; however, improvements in technology allow Mohs surgery to be used to safely remove some melanomas.

Another way to remove a cancerous mole is with curettage followed by electrodessication, according to the American Cancer Society. The doctor first scrapes off the lesion with a curette, then applies an electrode to destroy any lingering malignant cells.

Most surgeries to remove moles are performed under local anesthetic in a doctor's office or clinic. After surgery, the patient may also receive radiation or chemotherapy depending on the risk of the cancer spreading, according to the American Cancer Society.