Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Obituary: Frederic E. Mohs - Class of 1927

Skin Cancer Surgeon Dr. Frederic Mohs Dies

The Madison Resident, Famous For His Skin Cancer Treatment, Died At Age 94.
By Thomas W. Still

Dr. Frederic E. Mohs, a UW-Madison researcher and surgeon who devised a skin cancer treatment in the 1930s that remains the global standard today, died Monday in Madison. He was 93.

As a UW-Madison medical student in the early 1930s, Mohs began experimenting with procedures and compounds that came to be known as"microscopically controlled surgery." Once it gained popularity, the process became known worldwide by the name it still carries: Mohs surgery.

Mohs surgery provides a precise method for removal of all cancerous tissue,while sparing the greatest amount of healthy tissue. It typically results in a significantly smaller surgical defect and less noticeable scarring, as compared to other methods of skin cancer treatment. The cure rate for many types of skin cancer can be as high as 99 percent.

Over time, Mohs surgery training programs were established at a number of the nation's leading medical schools and clinics, including UW-Madison, the University of Michigan, the University of Iowa, New York University and the University of California-San Francisco.

The process is also used internationally, due in part to Mohs' travels to address medical audiences around the world. The American Society for Mohs Surgery was founded in 1990 to further the practice.

In a 2001 book, "Saving Face: My Victory Over Skin Cancer," author Carolyn Shuck of La Jolla, Calif., called Mohs "the foremost skin cancer surgeon in the world."

Born in Burlington, Mohs was 3 months old when his father died and the family moved to Madison, where his mother ran a boarding house. Mohs wanted to be a radio engineer, but became interested in medicine at the university.

He is survived by two sons, Frederic Jr., a member of the UW Board of Regents, and Thomas; a daughter, Jan Shimming of Jupiter, Fla.; seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. A family memorial will be held Wednesday.

Originally published as a news story in the Wisconsin State Journal on July 2, 2002

Note: Frederic E. Mohs's class year is based on information in the 1927 Tychoberahn, where his photograph is among those of the graduating seniors.

No comments: