Wait 8 Months for MOHS Surgery?

I have been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on my scalp, the spot is about 2 by 2 cm in size, it has been their for four years, I thought at first it was an infection and therefore did not go and get it seen to immediatley. My doctor sent a referral for MOHS surgery and the closest date they can get me in is 8 months from now. Is that too long to wait? even though basal cell carcinoma is slow growing, it is on my scalp and therefore could waiting that long increase my risk for any complications?

Doctor Answers 7

How long to wait for Mohs surgery

If it's been there for 4 years, and it's that big already, I would agree that 8 months is absurd. There are offices in Las Vegas that schedule this far out, and I find it ridiculous. I try to treat my patients the way I would want to be treated, and frankly if a physician told me to wait 8 months, I wouldn't schedule there. There are many Mohs certified physicians in the country and you do not need to wait for 8 months to see one of us for this important surgery.

Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

How Long to Wait for Mohs Surgery?

Thank you for your question. While BCC is indeed a slow growing tumor, now that your lesion has been biopsy-proven, a timely excision of this tumor is recommended. While your lesion has been there for years and it may not be detrimental to wait an extended time to remove the remaining tumor, most dermatologists and surgeons would encourage this be done within at least 2-3 months after receipt of diagnosis. This said, each case must be considered with both the input from patient and the physician, and should be decided on a case-by-case basis, as there could be other variables involved that may dictate dates and the timing for excisions. I hope this helps.

Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD
Bay Area Dermatologist
3.9 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

8 months is too long to wait

I encourage you to locate a Mohs Surgeon that can get you in for surgery as soon as possible.  I agree with my colleagues, also.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

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Timing of Mohs surgery

The issue of how long to wait for treatment of a basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is not perfectly understood and in Canada it is influenced by availability of Mohs surgery.

For a spot with minimal symptoms that is not growing noticeably, waiting a few months is not likely to change things much.  In the US, with the ready availability of Mohs surgery, most patients in your situation would be treated within a month - this may reflect more the availability rather than the need.  In British Columbia, there are currently only two Mohs surgeons in full time practice (in Vancouver); hence the long wait.

Basal cell carcinoma grows slowly over years often and it is not uncommon to see patients with lesions untreated for 2-3 years that they ignored.  They only very rarely spread from the skin so their risk to your general health is low.  They can grow deeply (eventually into bone), so they are typically removed like any other cancer.


In conclusion, there is no right answer especially in a system with limited availability, though most would say 8 months is long.  If you are concerned, you can try and be seen sooner in Alberta or Washington State, or alternatively you can get the opinion from the dermatologist who did the biopsy.


Daniel Berg, MD
Seattle Dermatologic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Mohs Surgery - How Long to Wait?

 Eight months is excessive. Today is November 7 and I am scheduling some patients for Mohs in January because of the holiday season. Treatment of basal cell carcinomas but 8 months seems really excessive.

William M. Ramsdell, MD
Austin Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Basal cell cancer on scalp

Eight months is too long to wait for treatment of your basal cell cancer.  It will continue to grow during that time.  It sounds like it has already been there for quite a while and is already larger in size.  You should have it treated within the next month.  If they can't get you in sooner, then you should see another doctor. 

Richard Ort, MD
Lone Tree Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

8 months is too long to wait for Mohs surgery.

I agree with my colleagues here. Eight months is too long to wait for Mohs surgery. You should look for another fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon to treat your cancer within the next month or two.

Lisa Chipps, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.