NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,863 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

Mohs surgery
(moze SER-juh-ree)
A surgical procedure used to treat skin cancer. Individual layers of cancer tissue are removed and examined under a microscope one at a time until all cancer tissue has been removed. Also called Mohs micrographic surgery.

EnlargeMohs surgery; drawing shows a visible lesion on the skin. The pullout shows a block of skin with cancer in the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) and the dermis (inner layer of the skin). A visible lesion is shown on the skin’s surface. Four numbered blocks show the removal of thin layers of the skin one at a time until all the cancer is removed.

Mohs surgery. A surgical procedure to remove a visible lesion on the skin in several steps. First, a thin layer of cancerous tissue is removed. Then, a second thin layer of tissue is removed and viewed under a microscope to check for cancer cells. More layers are removed one at a time until the tissue viewed under a microscope shows no remaining cancer. This type of surgery is used to remove as little normal tissue as possible.