Doctors perform advanced surgery to treat skin cancer

April 26, 2019

A team of doctors at a city hospital have successfully conducted ‘Mohs Micrographic Surgery (MMS)’, a highly specialized procedure to remove skin cancers from the face, head, neck, and shins.

The surgery, considered a gold standard for the treatment of common skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and others, was performed on a 46-year old Brazilian national, living here for the past five years.

"The chances of recurrences are close to none. Apart from being efficient, the surgery also ensures a negligible number of recurrences, making it a valuable surgery," dermatologist and cosmetologist Kusumika Kanak told TOI. Kanak had led the team that performed the complex surgery at Columbia Asia hospital in Kharadi on April 9.

The patient heads a statistical department at an automobile firm here, and was at the end of his five-year tenure. “It all started with a pimple-like growth near the right inner-side of my eye, which had been increasing in size for months. Apart from that, trickles of blood would ooze from the area. This affected my confidence and made me self-conscious about my appearance,” the man said.

The man approached doctors at Columbia Asia hospital in February. Post-biopsy and analysis, he was diagnosed with basal skin cancer. "We realized that the cancer had a deep-seated occurrence that would either lead to a recurrence or increase the gravity of the situation. Hence, superficial removal was not a suitable option," Kanak said.

The surgery was a collaborative effort. "Coordination with the pathologist after every slice of tissue, for inspection, was difficult. Also, because it occurred in a sensitive organ, the patient was asked to stay in the operating theatre for a day, instead of being shifted to the ward," Kanak said.

The surgery was performed on April 9. “The man was discharged cancer-free on April 10, with 99% success. The patient will be back in Brazil on April 27, and recuperate at a healthy rate,” Kanak said.

The other members of the team included plastic surgeon Sumit Saxena, internal medicine expert Prathibha Walde, expert pathologists and other staff from the hospital.

Doctors claimed that this was the first time an MMS procidure was carried out at a hospital in Pune. "The MMS surgery was completed in two parts. The surgery is considered a gold standard for various other skin cancers as well," Kanak said.

Some of the cases of skin cancer can be treated superficially by using anti-cancer creams, radiofrequency and laser. "These are blindfolded processes and we cannot be sure if the cancer will be removed completely. MMS is the best way to treat cancers, which spread deeper in the skin and show high chances of recurrence," Kanak said.