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05-01-2012 | Article

Patients well-satisfied with Mohs surgery for skin cancer


Free abstract

MedWire News: A large and disparate range of characteristics influences how satisfied patients are likely to be with the outcome of Mohs surgery for skin cancer, research shows.

In the survey of patients treated with Mohs surgery (also known as chemosurgery), factors such as preoperative wellbeing, marital status, and involvement in treatment decisions all had an effect on levels of satisfaction 1 year after the operation.

By modifying the factors that are amenable to change, "clinicians may be able to improve short- and long-term patient satisfaction with Mohs surgery," suggest Dr Maryam Asgari and colleagues writing in the Archives of Dermatology.

Mohs Surgery, named after its inventor Dr Frederic Mohs, is a highly specialized microscopically controlled surgical technique used to treat common types of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Mohs surgery offers an extremely high cure rate, removing all cancerous tissue while sparing healthy tissue. However, it is relatively expensive so is generally restricted for use in cancers in "anatomically important" areas such as the eyelid, nose, and lips.

In this study, Dr Asgari and co-workers sought to identify factors that would predict patient satisfaction with the surgery. They analyzed information on 339 patients who were treated with the technique and who reported satisfaction levels at 1 week and 1 year after the operation.

At 1 week post-surgery, satisfaction levels were high, with three-quarters of patients rating their overall satisfaction level at 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale.

Patients were more likely to be satisfied with surgery at 1 week if they had less severe symptoms before surgery, if the tumor had been removed in several stages, if they did not suffer bleeding after surgery, and if they felt they had been involved in deciding how their skin cancer should be treated.

At 1 year post-surgery, seven out of 10 patients answered "yes" to the question: "I am completely satisfied with the treatment of my skin problem" and eight out of 10 patients rated their overall satisfaction at 4 or 5.

Patients were more likely to be satisfied with surgery at 1 year if - again - they had less severe symptoms before surgery and if the tumor had been removed in several stages. Additionally, patients who were married were more likely to be satisfied than those who were single, divorced, or widowed.

"Further studies may help determine which preoperative skin-related quality-of-life factors are amenable to interventions and possible improvement," Dr Asgari and co-authors remark.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Joanna Lyford