If a patient has skin cancer removed with Mohs Surgery, will they see another cancer, or a recurrence of the same cancer again?

Unfortunately, the answer is that yes it’s highly likely.

Non-melanoma skin cancers develop due to two main factors: The patient’s susceptibility to sun damage, which is generally how fair their skin tone is, and how much sun exposure they’ve had in their lifetime. If a patient develops a skin cancer, this is evidence that the skin has endured damage at the DNA level already making it likely that another skin cancer may develop later more likely. The statistics suggest that if a patient develops a basal cell cancer (the most common skin cancer), the patient has a 40 to 50% of chance of developing another one within the next 5 years. Commonly patients wonder if a previous cancer has recurred or metastasized if they find a skin cancer after one has been removed, but usually it is simply another tumor that has developed independent of the one that was removed. Non-melanoma cancers are typically focal and don’t jump around. Rather, it is simply that the skin has endured too much sun damage, and a new skin cancer developed.

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Skin Cancer and Genetics

In this video series one of Canada's leading Mohs surgeons, Dr. Bryce Cowan explains the Mohs surgery procedure, expectation, and the facts and myths surrounding this advanced treatment procedure for removing skin cancer.