Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment
Years of heavy sun exposure can trigger potentially severe medical issues, one of which is basal cell carcinoma (BCC). This is the most commonly seen type of skin cancer; approximately 3.5 million people are diagnosed with the condition annually in the U.S.
The good news is that most cases can be successfully treated when caught early. If you notice any skin abnormalities, please contact the team at IDI for a comprehensive evaluation.
What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
BCC is a form of skin cancer resulting from ultraviolet (UV) radiation damage from either heavy sun exposure or prolonged use of tanning beds. The basal cells are among the three major types of skin cells in the lower portion of the epidermis. They are responsible for producing cells that travel to the surface of the skin, replacing squamous cells as they die off and shed. UV radiation damage causes an acceleration of the production of basal cells, resulting in overgrowth and eventually crowding out normal, healthy cells.
BCC has a variety of presentations. These include:
- Translucent, white, or pale skin growths with visible blood vessels
- Dark brown, raised lesions
- Flat, splotchy, red patches
These abnormalities typically appear on parts of the body that have received significant UV radiation exposure, such as the face, shoulders, neck, and back. While the condition can affect anyone, the following are particularly vulnerable:
- People with fair complexions
- Older adults
- People whose family members have been diagnosed with BCC
- People who have had skin cancer in the past
- People on certain immune-suppressing medications
If you notice any suspicious growths or changes in your skin, it is imperative that you seek medical attention immediately. The sooner you catch skin malignancies, the better the chances of overcoming them quickly.
Your dermatologist will perform a comprehensive medical exam to determine the presence of BCC. This will include an in-depth consultation about your medical history, your family’s medical history, your activities, and your lifestyle. Your doctor will conduct a skin exam and check for additional suspicious growths, and perform a biopsy for further testing.
If the condition has been caught sufficiently early, there is a good chance that the cancer can be completely surgically removed. This might be done through surgical excision, which involves removing the suspicious growth as well as a small portion of the healthy surrounding tissue.
Some cases can be addressed through a surgical process called micrographic surgery, or Mohs surgery. This involves a surgeon removing layers of cancerous skin and performing microscopic examinations to ensure removal of the entire malignancy while only sacrificing the absolute minimum amount of healthy tissue. This procedure is typically performed on facial lesions.
In the event the cancer has spread, other treatments might be preferable or necessary. These include chemotherapy or anticancer-targeted drug therapy.
The team at IDI is dedicated to empowering patients with the state-of-the-art diagnostic processes and treatments necessary to overcome different forms of skin cancer. If you’ve experienced an abnormal skin growth, please don’t hesitate to contact the medical professionals at IDI for a thorough evaluation.