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Among the priorities of the 29th Tree of Hope Campaign is Mohs surgery. We discussed this with Dr. Martin LeBlanc. He will soon be a member of our team of dermatologists.
Tree of Hope Campaign: Dr. LeBlanc, you will soon join our team. Can you briefly explain your journey and tell us why you chose to establish your practice here?Photo 2016 05 17 19 42 30

Dr. Martin LeBlanc: I completed the four-year medical doctorate program here at the Université de Moncton. It is offered in conjunction with the Université de Sherbrooke. Then, I was a resident in dermatology for five years at Université Laval in Quebec City. I am currently on a one-year fellowship in Mohs surgery at the University of Toronto.

From the start, my plan was to return to practise in my hometown. It is a growing and welcoming community where I have a sense of belonging. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to complete part of my studies at the Université de Moncton. There, I had the support of my loved ones. I look forward to being able to give back quality care to the residents of the community. Mohs surgery is a first-choice treatment for patients with skin cancer.

Tree of Hope Campaign: One of the priority projects of the Tree of Hope Campaign this year is Mohs surgery. What can you tell us about this procedure?

Dr. Martin LeBlanc: Mohs surgery is an innovative procedure developed in 1938 by dermatologist Dr. Frederic Mohs. The procedure has since been refined. It is currently a first-line option for the treatment of skin cancers. This surgery has the highest healing rates demonstrated to date. In addition, it provides significant savings for the health care system.

Mohs surgery is conducted under local anesthesia. The surgeon first uses a scalpel to remove the visible part of the tumour. The specimen is mapped with precision, and it is fully examined under a microscope thanks to the frozen sections. Special histological cuts are performed to provide visualization of 100% of the margins. If all cancer cells have been removed, the incision is sutured. If the margins are not healthy, the surgeon returns to their exact location to excise the roots that were not visible. The procedure is repeated as many times as it takes to remove all cancer cells.

Tree of Hope Campaign: What types of cancers can be treated with this type of procedure?

Dr. Martin LeBlanc: Basal cell and squamous cell tumours are the main skin cancers treated with this method. We know that basal cell cancer alone has a higher prevalence than all other types of cancers. Its incidence and prevalence are increasing. This procedure can also be of benefit to other less common skin cancers.

Tree of Hope Campaign: How will the equipment facilitate your work and improve the quality of treatment to patients?

Dr. Martin LeBlanc: With the necessary equipment, we can establish a Mohs surgical clinic. We need to set up a laboratory equipped with a cryostat, a linear colouring machine and microscopes.

Two rooms for minor surgery will also be updated and used to carry out this project. Mohs surgery will be another step forward in the fight against cancer.

New jobs will be created for nursing staff and laboratory technicians. They will work in parallel with the Mohs dermatology surgeon. We must also work with other specialists, such as plastic surgeons, radiation oncologists and ENT specialists.

I believe that patients with skin or any other types of cancer benefit from a multi-disciplinary approach. Thus, Mohs surgery will be an important asset in the care of these patients.

Tree of Hope Campaign: From your perspective, why is it important to support the Tree of Hope Campaign?

Dr. Martin LeBlanc: For me, the Tree of Hope has always been a significant and unifying activity, where everyone wins. I am truly happy and honoured to be able to participate in this amazing campaign! 

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