Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joel L. Cohen performs Mohs surgery, a procedure to excise the carcinoma from 30-year-old Nicole's scalp.
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Carcinoma Skin Cancer Surgery Nicole: So I found Dr. Cohen and came in and they found a spot on my scalp on the left side of my temple. I just really didn’t think it was going to come back, cancer. Those words, it’s very startling. If I had waited longer, I don’t even know what would have happened. I mean thank god I came in when I did. I’m just nervous and scared and I just want it over with. Host: Well the waiting was probably the worst part for Nicole but she was soon cleared and ready for surgery. Dr. Cohen: Good morning. Nicole: Hi. Dr. Cohen: How are you doing this morning? Nicole: Okay. Dr. Cohen: Good, I know we’ve spoken a lot about this. I just want to see if you have any questions or concerns. Nicole: Just like how much exactly it’s going to hurt? Dr. Cohen: We can certainly give you some pain medication. The first step is actually scraping the cancer cells off the surface and then I’ll take a scalpel and we’ll cut right around the perimeter of the area. We’ll actually remove some of the skin and we’ll be able to process it this morning. This has a very low risk skin cancer; it’s called a basal cell carcinoma. It doesn’t tend to spread to other parts of the body but there’s a need to be removed, so if you don’t have any more questions I’m going to go ahead and we’ll take you over to the surgery room and we’ll just get started. I’m just putting a little bit of margin around it with a surgical marker, so I’m going to score the skin from the bottom and the top, so you can see that the small area that we scraped in the middle and then a very small edge. Are you feeling okay? Nicole: Yes. Dr. Cohen: So at this point, we’re going to stop. We have our tissue specimen, it takes about 45 minutes to process the skin to actually look at it under the microscope. So Nicole we still do have some tumor there, we’re going to have to go back and want to make sure that everything is out. Nicole: Okay. Dr. Cohen: Great news, we got it all, everything is out, so you know we can stitch things up and make it look a whole lot better.