The Mohs Surgery Details I Wish I Knew in Advance (Stage 1A)
I was extremely fortunate and discovered my melanoma at a very early stage - 1A. Almost immediately after my diagnosis, I found myself speaking with a Mohs surgeon to have the tumor removed. I had a million questions, but only time to ask a few. This led me down the endless path of Googling questions, which only led to more stress.
My stage 1A Mohs surgery experience
If you are in this same boat, hopefully, I can help clarify some of the major details I wish I had known leading up to my surgery.
The surgery was not painful at all!
Before the surgery, they numb the entire area. All you’ll feel during the procedure is a little bit of pressure and that’s it. You might be a little sore afterward from the stitches, but aside from that, the procedure itself was painless.
It was quick and easy
I was a little nervous about being awake during the procedure, but there was no reason for me to be. From start to finish it only took about 30-45 minutes and I felt absolutely no pain. The doctors make sure you are comfortable and get everything done quickly so you can get back to your life.
Expect a break from exercise or sports for a couple of weeks
I’m a little hard-headed and tried to play volleyball about 3 days after my procedure – not something I would recommend to others (especially with my removal being on my back). Fortunately for me, I did not rip any stitches, but it was not the smartest thing I’ve ever tried to do. Don’t be like me, take a couple of weeks off and let it heal properly.
There will be a scar (For me, 2")
While this may change depending on the location of the tumor, my scar is only about 2” long. When the stitches are first removed it might draw a little bit of attention, but after just a few months it’s hardly noticeable at all. On a side note – I have actually come to like my scar. It’s on my back so I can only see it if I’m looking in a mirror, but it’s a good reminder for me to keep my skin protected and do everything I can to maintain my skin health and avoid having another Mohs surgery in the future.
After your surgery you continue working with your dermatologist
I liked my surgeon a lot, but I hope I’m never back in his operating room again! After the surgery, you may see the surgeon one more time for him to make sure everything is healing properly, but after that, you go right back to your dermatologist who you’ll become VERY close with. I had an appointment with my dermatologist every 3 months immediately following the surgery for the next year, and I’m on a 6-month schedule now.
While I’m sure everyone’s experience is a little different, these are the major takeaways from my own experience with my Mohs surgery and I hope it helps! I know how stressful it can be immediately after your diagnosis. The path to wellness for stage 1A melanoma is usually a quick and easy process with a very good chance to remove 100% of the cancerous cells.
How well have your skin cancer diagnoses been explained to you?