Mount Sinai Dermatologist Discusses Surgery for Skin Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Desiree Ratner, MD Director, Comprehensive Skin Cancer Program, Mount Sinai Beth Israel and Professor of Dermatology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Desiree Ratner

Desiree Ratner, MD
Director, Comprehensive Skin Cancer Program,
Mount Sinai Beth Israel and Professor of Dermatology
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

MedicalResearch.com: How big is the problem of skin cancer in the US? 

Dr. Ratner: Skin cancer is an enormous problem in the United States and the numbers are increasing every year.  There are over 2 million cases of basal cell carcinoma per year, over 700,000 cases of squamous cell carcinoma per year, and over 140,000 cases of melanoma per year in the U.S. alone.

MedicalResearch.com: What type of patients do you evaluate and treat?

Dr. Ratner: My practice is limited to skin cancer, so most of my patients are referred to me by general dermatologists for surgery.  I see patients who require Mohs surgery for non-melanoma skin cancers, excisions for non-melanoma skin cancers, and other surgical procedures for a variety of other benign and malignant lesions.

MedicalResearch.com: Can you explain what Moh’s surgery?  What type of patients should have the Moh’s procedure for their skin cancer?

Dr. Ratner: Mohs surgery is a specialized surgical procedure used to remove skin cancers, usually basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.  It combines surgical removal of the skin cancer with a narrow margin of skin surrounding it with immediate microscopic examination.  This technique allows 100% of the margin around and under the skin cancer to be examined microscopically to make certain that all of the roots have been removed.  It is the only technique available that ensures complete removal of a skin cancer while sparing normal healthy skin to the greatest degree possible.

This technique is recommended for skin cancers in areas where preservation of cosmetic appearance and function are important, for tumors that have recurred after previous treatment, or are large, have edges that are ill-defined, grow rapidly, or are located in scar tissue.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Ratner: Since skin cancers are largely caused by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, it is very important to wear sunscreens when outdoors, SPF 30 or higher, and to reapply sunscreen every two to three hours.  When caught early, skin cancers are completely curable.  It is therefore important for people to see a dermatologist if they are worried about an unusual or non-healing area, or a lesion that is growing, bleeding, or changing.

MedicalResearch.com: What research are you conducting or planning?

Dr. Ratner: My research focuses on patients with high risk or advanced skin cancers, looking at ways to minimize their risk of recurrence or spread using combinations of surgery, radiation, and the newer targeted molecular inhibitors.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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