Basal Cell Skin Cancer

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, accounting for greater than 90% all skin cancer cases with in the U.S. While these cancers almost never metastasize and spread to other parts of the body, they can cause damage to growing and surround tissues. The face is the most common location for basal cell carcinoma because of its greater exposure to the sun than other body parts. However, the chest, back, arms, legs, and scalp can also be effected. People living in Texas are more likely to develop basal cell skin cancer than those living in extreme northern states because they typically receive higher levels of UV radiation from the sun.

Basal cell carcinoma is properly diagnosed through a biopsy. If the biopsy comes back positive for skin cancer treatments will begin in order to destroy the cancer. There are different methods used to remove the cancer, and they much each take into consideration the location and size of the cancer, the patient’s age, the risk of scarring, and medical history. For removing cancer cells that are on “non-crucial” areas such as the back and extremities, many dermatologists prefer the curettage and desiccation method. This method consists of scooping out the basal cell carcinoma with a spoon-like instrument called a curette.

For patients with basal cell skin cancer on the face, many doctors prefer to use the Mohs micrographic technique. This method requires doctors to meticulously remove a small piece of the tumor at a time and examine it under a microscope. This method is repeated over and over until the basal cells can be mapped and taken out with a precise measurement. This method removes as little of the surrounding healthy skin as possible to prevent scarring.

If you have basal cell skin cancer, your dermatologist can help you choose the most appropriate method of removal and treatment. With precise care and avoiding unprotected sun exposure, your skin can be healthy.

Posted on behalf of Medical Dermatology Specialists