'Micrographic' skin cancer surgery coming to Nova Scotia


A skin cancer surgery that Nova Scotia's top public health official recently had to travel to receive is now approved for the province, and a dermatologist is planning a Halifax site for the procedure.

Dr. Michael Stevens says introducing Mohs surgery, where thin layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed, will help avoid more serious procedures for some patients.

The "micrographic" procedure removes tumours little by little, with dermatologists examining the tissue as it is removed until testing indicates the absence of cancer.

Stevens has spent years lobbying the Nova Scotia Health Authority to provide a billing number for the procedure, and says he's pleased it agreed to move forward earlier this year.

He says it is the standard of care in most other parts of Canada, including in New Brunswick, and his practice is planning on providing the surgery later this fall once equipment and space is prepared.

A spokeswoman for the Health Department confirmed that Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, recently travelled to New Brunswick for the treatment.