Kishwer S. Nehal, MD

About Me

As Director of Mohs and Dermatologic Surgery, I lead a team of highly accomplished Mohs surgeons who are experts in treating skin cancers. We care for people with basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, early-stage melanoma, lentigo maligna melanoma, and other complex skin cancers. Our Mohs surgery program includes dedicated nurses and a highly specialized and experienced Mohs lab. We offer reconstruction after skin cancer removal, laser surgery, and other dermatologic surgery procedures. The whole team pays very close attention to each aspect of our patients’ care.  

I also lead MSK’s Multidisciplinary Skin Cancer Management Program, which brings together multiple specialists to care for skin cancers that are difficult to treat due to size, location, or other high-risk features. Our experienced team has the resources and the expertise to handle the most complex cases — and we do not shy away from challenges.

For many years, skin cancers were considered to be less concerning than other cancers. But with the dramatic rise in diagnoses worldwide, skin cancer is receiving more serious attention. At MSK, we have always emphasized skin cancer prevention, early diagnosis, and effective treatments. Fortunately, the overall prognosis is usually very good, but since most skin cancers occur in delicate areas of the face, this requires a precise and thoughtful surgical approach. We also recognize that the treatment decisions we make today can affect a person years later. This important understanding helps guide the treatment and reconstruction recommendations that I discuss with my patients. I strive to support my patients through each step of their care, tailoring surgical options to meet their needs and focusing on their quality of life now and in the future.

Along with caring for patients, I conduct clinical research on noninvasive imaging techniques, such as confocal microscopy. New technologies are helping us reduce unnecessary biopsies, find skin cancers sooner, and map skin cancer margins to guide surgery while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible. I also study melanomas that occur on the face to look for ways to improve treatment. With two decades of study, we published the first dedicated book on lentigo maligna melanoma to help physicians in managing this difficult skin cancer.

I serve on national committees working to improve the care of people with skin cancer. I work with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to develop guidelines on managing skin cancers. I have also helped the American Joint Committee on Cancer to develop staging criteria for squamous cell carcinomas of the skin that have the potential for spread. I have shared my expertise at national and international meetings and written numerous journal articles and book chapters to improve our knowledge of challenging skin cancers. I also work with the Dermatology Foundation, an organization that awards grants to young dermatologists doing innovative research to advance patient care.

I knew from a young age that I was interested in medicine. But it wasn’t until medical school that I discovered the multifaceted nature of skin cancers and became intrigued by the challenges of Mohs and reconstructive surgery. I have been fortunate to have mentors who were passionate about improving skin cancer treatments and also caring and thoughtful in their approach to patients. These formative experiences shaped me as a physician and inspired me to be a dedicated mentor to tomorrow’s skin cancer specialists.

In my free time, I enjoy being with my family and friends, traveling, and exploring the great outdoors.

  • Clinical Expertise: Early-Stage Melanoma; Lentigo Maligna Melanoma; Basal Cell Carcinoma; Squamous Cell Carcinoma; Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer; Dermatologic Surgery; Mohs Micrographic Surgery; Cutaneous Reconstruction; Laser Surgery
  • Awards and Honors: Castle Connolly: New York Magazine Top Doctors (2014-2018)
  • Languages Spoken: English
  • Education: MD, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Residencies: Dermatology - New York University Medical Center
  • Fellowships: Dermatologic Surgery - New York University Medical Center
  • Board Certifications: Dermatology

See My Colleagues

Publications

Update on Keratinocyte Carcinomas. Nehal KS, Bichakjian CK. N Engl J Med. 2018 Jul 26;379(4):363-374.

Modernizing the Mohs Surgery Consultation: Instituting a Video Module for Improved Patient Education and Satisfaction. Newsom E, Lee E, Rossi A, Dusza S, Nehal K. Dermatol Surg. 2018 Jun;44(6):778-784.

Guidelines of care for the management of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Work Group; Invited Reviewers, Kim JYS, Kozlow JH, Mittal B, Moyer J, Olenecki T, Rodgers P. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018 Mar;78(3):560-578.

Clinical Trials

As home to one of the world’s top cancer research centers, Memorial Sloan Kettering is typically involved in more than 900 clinical trials at a given time. Currently, clinical trials focused on the conditions I treat are enrolling new patients. If you’re interested in joining a clinical trial, click to learn about the trial’s purpose, eligibility criteria, and how to get more information.

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Insurance

Most major health insurers offer plans that include MSK as one of their in-network providers. If MSK is in-network, it means all our doctors are too. Medicaid and New York State Medicare also provide benefits for care at MSK.

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