Healthy Living: Watching out for skin cancer can't wait

Treating skin cancer sounds like a scary task, but experts say that promptly addressing common skin cancers can enable dermatologists to use a safer procedure that is less invasive than you might think.

Posted: Feb 17, 2021 12:45 PM
Updated: Feb 17, 2021 3:22 PM

EUGENE, Ore.-- Treating skin cancer sounds like a scary task, but experts say that promptly addressing common skin cancers can enable dermatologists to use a procedure called Mohs Micrographic Surgery that is safer and less invasive than you might think.

According to Oregon Medical Group dermatologist Dr. Rie Takahashi, bumps and lesions on your skin are never something to ignore. They can occur anywhere on your skin but appear most commonly on the hands and face.

"Patients often come in and say, I have this bump on my face and it's been there for a little while, and then it became painful and now it's been a couple of months and it's bleeding and tender and it just won't go away," she said. "It can take your life because ultimately it can metastasize (or spread to other parts of the body) and be very serious."

After visiting the dermatologist for a full skin check and possibly a biopsy, they may determine that Mohs Surgery is a possibility.

The procedure is mostly used for common skin cancers like basal and squamous cell carcinomas but can be used for melanoma and other types as well. Mohs is sometimes recommended for cancers in areas where keeping as much tissue as possible is important like the face, hands and genitals.

"We actually take just around what the tumor looks like to the naked eye," said Takahashi.

During Mohs surgery, cancerous tissue is removed in precise, thin layers that is then examined by a pathologist for cancer cells. If malignant cells are found, more tissue is removed until the cancer is gone.

According to Dr. Takahashi, the procedure is safe, highly effective and saves healthy tissue by targeting only the cancerous tissue.

"A lot of patients come in if it's their first time and they're nervous, and we say don't be, let us do the heavy lifting," she said.

Catching skin cancers before they metastasize can be a life-saving measure, which is why Takahashi recommends getting a general skin screening with a dermatologist for peace of mind.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 155787

Reported Deaths: 2212
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31892529
Washington21265212
Marion18486285
Clackamas13399175
Lane10287127
Jackson8407112
Umatilla766082
Deschutes595659
Yamhill378364
Linn359156
Malheur335158
Polk306942
Klamath279155
Douglas248554
Benton234416
Josephine234452
Jefferson196028
Coos149719
Union128419
Columbia127021
Wasco122126
Lincoln113320
Hood River106929
Morrow104914
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6597
Curry4296
Tillamook4142
Lake3766
Harney2736
Grant2231
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00
Eugene
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 42°
Corvallis
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 39°
Roseburg
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 50°
North Bend
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 44°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Community Events