Skin cancer is a prevalent and potentially life-threatening condition that affects millions of people worldwide. When it comes to treating malignant lesions, many patients are faced with the choice of IG-SRT vs. Mohs micrographic surgery.
To help you make an informed decision, we will cover what these two treatments entail, how they differ, and what factors you should consider when discussing your treatment options with your dermatologist.
What Is IG-SRT?
IG-SRT, or Image-Guided Superficial Radiation Therapy, is a noninvasive and highly effective treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer. Unlike traditional radiation therapy, IG-SRT is specifically designed to treat cancer cells on the surface of the skin. It delivers precise doses of radiation directly to the cancerous area while sparing the healthy surrounding tissue.
This treatment is commonly used to treat basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It is also suitable for patients who may not be good candidates for surgery due to age or underlying health conditions.
Learn more about this groundbreaking skin cancer treatment in our related blog post.
IG-SRT for Skin Cancer
IG-SRT utilizes advanced technology to preferentially target and destroy cancer cells. The treatment process generally adheres to the following steps:
- Consultation: Your dermatologist will assess your skin and determine if IG-SRT is an appropriate treatment option for your specific case.
- Treatment Planning: With the help of imaging technology, we will develop a treatment plan to target the cancerous area while minimizing radiation exposure to healthy skin.
- Treatment Sessions: IG-SRT is typically administered in a series of short, painless sessions (usually lasting around 15 minutes). Patients usually receive 3 sessions per week for 4 to 7 weeks.
- Monitoring and Follow-up: Regular follow-up appointments with your dermatologist are essential for monitoring your skin and ensuring the cancer has been eradicated.
IG-SRT is performed as an outpatient procedure with no downtime and minimal side effects. Patients may experience some redness or mild irritation at the treatment site, but these effects are generally short-lived and well-tolerated. Patients often find IG-SRT to be more convenient and less invasive compared to surgical treatment.
Since the treatment doesn’t break the skin, there is no risk of scarring. IG-SRT offers superior cosmetic outcomes to traditional skin cancer surgeries and has a 99.5% cure rate for non-melanoma skin cancer.
What Is Mohs Surgery?
Named after its inventor, Dr. Frederic E. Mohs, Mohs surgery is a micrographic surgical technique to remove non-melanoma skin cancer. It is often used when the cancer is in high-risk or sensitive areas or has recurred after previous treatments.
Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer
Mohs surgery is known for its high precision in removing cancerous tissue while leaving the healthy skin around it untouched. Here is what you can expect from the Mohs surgery process:
- Tissue Removal and Analysis: During the procedure, the Mohs micrographic surgeon removes thin layers of tissue one at a time. Each layer is immediately examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells. This process is repeated until no cancer cells are detected in the removed tissue.
- Immediate Reconstruction: Once all cancerous tissue is removed, the surgeon will reconstruct the wound. Depending on the size and location of the cancer(s), this process may involve simple closure or more complex techniques.
- High Cure Rates: Mohs surgery boasts exceptionally high cure rates (98% to 99%) with minimal scarring and as much healthy tissue spared as possible. It is a preferred choice for squamous and basal cell carcinoma, especially on the face and areas with limited surrounding tissue.
IG-SRT vs. Mohs: Which One Is Right for Me?
When deciding between IG-SRT and Mohs micrographic surgery, you should keep a few factors in mind, including:
- Type and Stage of Skin Cancer: The type of skin cancer you have and how advanced it is will play a significant role in determining the most suitable treatment option. Mohs surgery is often recommended for aggressive or recurrent skin cancers, while IG-SRT may be a viable option for less advanced cases.
- Skin Cancer Location: Both IG-SRT and Mohs surgery are excellent choices for areas where preserving healthy tissue is essential, such as the face, neck, or ears. While Mohs is a precise, tissue-sparing technique, it does involve wound reconstruction. IG-SRT does not break the skin or create scarring, which may make it a better choice for cosmetically sensitive areas.
- Personal Health and Preferences: Your overall health and personal preferences are critical to this decision. Some patients prefer the noninvasive IG-SRT for its minimal discomfort and quicker recovery period. In contrast, others may be more comfortable with Mohs because it eliminates skin cancer in one surgery without needing follow-up treatments.
- Consultation With a Specialist: Talking to a medical dermatologist or oncologist about your options is paramount. They will assess your specific case and provide expert guidance based on your unique circumstances.
Exploring Your Options
If you or a loved one is facing a skin cancer diagnosis, request a consultation or call us at (541) 200-2777 to learn more about your options. As your allies in the fight against skin cancer, your health and well-being are our top priority. Remember, early detection and timely treatment are crucial in achieving the best outcomes. Make sure to wear broad-spectrum sunlight daily and book an annual skin cancer screening to monitor your skin’s health.