Skin Cancer Come Back In The Same Place?

Last Modified: June 7, 2011

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Does skin cancer come back in the same place?

Answer

Christopher Miller, MD, Assistant Professor in Dermatology and Director of the Moh's Surgery Program at Penn Medicine, responds:

Skin cancer can grow back in the same place, if the original surgery failed to remove it all. The risk that the original surgery will fail to remove the cancer is greatest when the edges of the cancer are hard to determine with certainty using the naked eye, or if there are many sun damaged areas around the skin cancer. For those ill-defined skin cancers, Mohs surgery offer the highest cure rates. Mohs surgery allows examination of 100% of the surgical edge to make sure that nothing is left behind. If your cancer is in a cosmetically important area or the edges are ill-defiined, see a fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series: Sun Safety and Skin Cancer Prevention Webchat. View the entire transcript on Sun Safety.