Mohs micrographic surgery is often used to treat recurrent skin cancers.
In this video, we ask Dr. Bryce Cowan whether previous attempts to remove skin cancer can affect the prognosis of Mohs surgery.
It’s certainly possible that prior surgery can affect the outcome of the mohs surgery that is about to be performed. Most skin cancers grow contiguously, from trunk to the branches. This system is partially disrupted during a surgical attempt. After the initial surgical attempt, the cancer may no longer be connected in the usual pattern. Reconstruction can also disrupt and conceal focal areas of the tumour. For this reason, the more surgical attempts that have been made, and the more often the cancer has been disrupted, the harder it becomes to identify all the cancers as tissue has been shifted. In these cases, the cure rate will be lower, even with mohs surgery.