Cairns Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care


New skin cancer treatment for Cairns sufferers

Mar 18, 2019

One of the most effective skin cancer surgical treatments is now available for skin cancer sufferers in Cairns.

The treatment, known as Mohs Micrographic Surgery (Mohs Surgery), has commenced at Cairns Day Surgery and is a highly specialised treatment for the total removal of skin cancers.

Dr Simon Tucker has brought the procedure to the region and is the only approved Mohs Micrographic Surgeon north of Brisbane, making him one of the most remote Mohs surgeons in the world.

“We have the highest skin cancer rates in the world, but people up here don’t have access to the best treatment - that’s always seemed very unfair to me,” Dr Tucker said.

The procedure involves removing microscopic layers of the patient’s skin around the cancer. The skin is immediately examined while the patient waits, to determine whether the skin cancer has been completely removed.

If it hasn’t, the surgeon removes the remaining section of skin and the pathology process is repeated.

“So, what you get is the highest cure rate, with the smallest hole because we’ve taken a narrower margin. This becomes important with facial skin cancers, where there’s not much spare skin,” Dr Tucker said.

The surgery works for basal and squamous cell cancers (BCCs and SCCs) and has a 99% success rate. It also reduces the need for additional treatment and ensures minimal scarring.

Far North Queensland has the highest rates of skin cancers per capita in the world. The new procedure will prevent skin cancer patients needing to travel to receive Mohs surgery.

Cairns Private Hospital CEO Ben Tooth said: “I am delighted with our continued expansion of specialist services to the region, negating the need for patients to fly to Brisbane for surgery.”

Dr Tucker is expected to complete around 400 Mohs procedures each year.