Cheryl’s Journey With Mohs


My name is Cheryl, and I am a medical assistant (MA) and patient in the Christie Clinic Department of Dermatology. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month; and with a personal history of skin cancer dating back 25 years, I am passionate about bringing attention to the ABCDEs of skin cancer.

The ABCDEs of skin cancer stand for:

  • Asymmetry: one half of the spot is unlike the other half
  • Border: spot has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border
  • Color: spot has varying colors from one area to another
  • Diameter: size of a pencil eraser or greater than 6 millimeters
  • Evolving: spot looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color

I've faced recurring skin cancer episodes, which were all treated with excisional surgery, but my latest required Mohs surgery. It all began in August 2020 when I noticed a suspicious spot on my nose. Consulting the dermatologist I work with, she recommended a biopsy which confirmed it as skin cancer and that Mohs surgery would be the best plan of care moving forward.

Given my departmental experience, I understood the Mohs procedure's meticulous layer-by-layer removal, ensuring complete cancer eradication with minimal cosmetic impact. Despite my familiarity, the fear of a new diagnosis lingered. The unwavering support from my coworkers and care team eased my anxiety, fostering a newfound empathy for Mohs patients. This firsthand insight allows me to connect more deeply with patients and offer enhanced support. Regular skin exams and awareness of spot changes using the ABCDEs of skin cancer are vital for early detection. To schedule your annual skin exam, click here.

- Cheryl R., Christie Clinic Department of Dermatology Team Member & Patient