Doctors are using a new micrographic surgery to help cure skin cancer.
The technique is called Mohs Micrographic surgery, and it has a 99 percent cure rate and leaves minimal scars.
Doctors say one in five Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime, and the rate of skin cancer is significantly higher in Colorado than many other states.
"The ultra violet penetration is 4 percent higher for every thousand feet, so we're at a huge disadvantage just being in Denver," said Dr. Joel Cohen of Swedish Medical Center.
Kelli Swan is one patient who was surprised when she was diagnosed with basil cell carcinoma. Cohen said basil cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. What started out as a little bump on her nose turned out to be skin cancer.
"I never laid outside really. Never went to a tanning booth," said Swan. "You just don't think you'd get skin cancer when you're 21."
Cohen used Mohs Micrographic surgery to remove the cancer.
"I took a piece of cartilage from her ear, then recountered the rim of her nose," said Cohen.
The procedure lasted five hours and left minimal scars. Swan said she is confident that what little scarring can be seen will likely disappear within a year.
"It's great -- better than I ever thought, really," said Swan. "I just learned that no matter how old you are, you can get cancer. It does happen to you."
For more information about Mohs Micrographic surgery, click here
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