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Study Shows Genetic Risk of Skin Cancer and Subsequent Mohs Surgery

Posted by floriza in Mohs Surgery

A study published in Nature Genetics and conducted in Australia at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) has pinpointed a genetic variant that can determine a patient’s risk of developing skin cancer, which could lead to the need for Mohs micrographic surgery. The researchers evaluated the records of 6,000 people in Australia. In that group, 2,000 had been diagnosed with melanoma, and 4,000 had no history of skin cancer.

The study found that there are differences in the DNA of people with skin cancer as compared to those without. One DNA difference may cause these people to be more susceptible to tumors, while the other DNA difference has more to do with how well the body repairs the DNA after exposure to UV rays.

More studies must be conducted before tests will be established to evaluate a patient’s risk on a routine basis, but the researchers estimate that these tests might be available in five years’ time. Other genetic variants have already been discovered, so these tests would incorporate all of the findings to alert patients to their risk of developing melanoma.

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. When the damage to DNA caused by UV rays is not repaired by the body, the cells mutate and turn into tumors. Most melanoma tumors are dark in color (black or brown), but they can also sometimes be lighter in color, such as pink, red, purple, or even blue or white.

Estimates are that nearly 9,000 people die of melanoma annually in the United States alone. When treated early, the survival rate is very high. Once the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, however, treatment is much more difficult.

What is Mohs Micrographic Surgery?

Mohs micrographic surgery is a revolutionary procedure that removes skin cancer cells while leaving most healthy cells intact. While it is primarily used for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the most common and least dangerous types of skin cancer, it has also been successful in treating some forms of melanoma.

The surgeon performing Mohs skin cancer treatment can examine the tissue while the procedure is taking place to determine if all of the cancerous cells have been removed. Scarring from Mohs surgery is also less extensive than other kinds of skin cancer removal surgery. Because of the delicate nature of the procedure, it works well on the face.

The cure rate is also very high after Mohs micrographic surgery in New Jersey and other parts of the country, especially for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

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