Upstate offers new skin cancer treatment

of these sections and then draws a map of the surgical site. The tissues

are examined while the patient remains in the waiting room. The

undersurface and edges of each section are then microscopically examined for

evidence of remaining cancer. This method of processing the tissue allows

for examination of 100 percent of the surgical margins and accounts for the

high cure rate seen with this procedure. If the cancer cells are found,

their locations are marked onto the map by the surgeon who will then remove

another layer of skin precisely from the site that the cancer cells remain.

The removal process stops when there is no longer any evidence of cancer

remaining in the surgical site.

Mohs surgery is appropriate when the cancer is in an area where it is

important to preserve healthy tissue for maximum functional and cosmetic

result, such as eyelids, nose, ears, lips, fingers, toes and genitals. It

is also appropriate if the cancer was treated previously and has recurred,

or if the cancer is large, if the cancer is growing rapidly or

uncontrollably, or the edges of the cancer are not clearly defined.

Prospective patients must have a biopsy-proven skin cancer and meet the

criteria for Mohs surgery indications. The procedure is covered by most

insurance plans.

In addition to Mohs surgery, Joyce Farah will spearhead a Photodynamic

Therapy Unit in the Mohs surgery suite. PDT is a non- surgical treatment

for pre-cancers and certain non-melanoma skin cancers. During the

treatment a photosensitizing agent is painted on the patient s skin and it

preferentially concentrates in sun-damaged cells. After an incu

bation of

one to two hours, the Once activated, the medication destroys the

sun-damaged cells.

Photodynamic therapy is appropriate for individuals who have significant sun

damage, numerous actinic keratoses and some superficial forms of basal cell

and squamous cell carcinomas. It is particularly useful for transplant

patients who have weakened immune systems from their transplant medications.

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