Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that is usually caused by overexposure to ultra violet rays. While it is more likely to occur in fair skinned people, those with dark skin should also take precautions when out in the sun or using tanning beds.
Basal skin carcinoma is the least deadly type of skin cancer and offers high chances of being successfully treated if it is diagnosed early on.
What Is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
Basal cell carcinoma often starts out as a bump on the skin. It is mostly found on facial skin, but can occur anywhere else on the body. The bump may be red or dark colored. Usually, the bump has a ringed edge to it, or it can have a wrinkled surface. It may also look slightly shiny and smooth.
It is recommended that if you have spent a lot of time under the sun in the past, or continue to do so, you should get the bump checked out by a doctor.
Getting a Diagnosis
Usually, doctors start by asking questions about how much exposure you have had to sunlight or UV rays. In particular, if you have spent so much time under the sun that your skin was reddened and developed blisters, and you notice reddish spots on your skin then the doctor may recommend a biopsy.
For a biopsy, some of the affected skin will be removed under local anesthesia and sent for lab testing. If the results are positive, the doctor will suggest treatment plans.
Your Treatment Options
The first choice would be to remove the cancerous tissue through surgery. This is done in stages, because the doctor would like to save as much skin as possible and minimize post-surgical marks.
First, the cancerous tissue and surrounding healthy tissue may be removed and tested in a lab. If the tests confirm that the healthy tissue has also developed cancer, then more skin tissue will be removed.
New technology often enables doctors to eliminate cancer cells without removing too much skin tissue. The tumor is removed, and then, electricity or very low temperatures are used for eliminating cancerous cells that may be in the surrounding area. By far the most common procedure is to use radiation to eliminate the cancer cells.
For large tumors that are located on the face, or where the chances of a scar can be a setback, Moh’s Surgery may be used. This procedure relies on gradually removing skin tissue so as to remove all cancerous tissue. This type of surgery is also used for treating recurrent skin cancer where other types of treatments have not worked, or the cancer has returned.
Things to Remember
To reduce the risk of recurrence, you will need to protect your skin against sun exposure. Be aware of the possible signs of skin cancer and visit your doctor if you notice anything unusual. Do not spend too much time out in the sun particularly during peak daytime hours. Always use strong sunscreen when outdoors.
Contact Our Office
Contact us if you would like to learn more about Basal Cell Carcinoma and the treatments available to you. Dr. Howard Horlick, an experienced dermatologist, will help answer any of the questions you have in a safe and comfortable environment.