Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. Over 2 million Americans are diagnosed with it every year. Patients with BCC often develop multiple primary tumors over time.
1. Basal cell carcinomas are generally non life-threatening but could result in severe complications
For most people, a basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is not life-threatening. It tends to grow slowly and rarely spreads to another part of the body. As with most skin cancers, prevention and early detection is key. Although this skin cancer is highly treatable, if given time to grow, it can grow deep into the body, damaging nerves, blood vessels, and any tissue or organ in its path. As the cancer cells pile up and form a large tumor, the cancer can reach into the bone beneath. This can also change the way you look, and for some people, the change may be disfiguring.
2. BCCs have various risk factors
As with most skin cancers, BCCs are generally caused by sun exposure and damage to skin cells due to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. BCCs are studied widely around the world since they are so common. There are several factors that increase the risk of a BCC in an individual.
Age and sex: BCCs are particularly prevalent in elderly males. However, they also affect females and younger adults
Repeated prior episodes of sunburn
Fair skin, blue eyes, and blond or red hair
Previous skin injury, thermal burn, or disease
Exposure to ionizing radiation, arsenic, or immune suppression due to disease or medicines
That said, BCCs can occur in men and women of all ages and skin types.
3. Diagnosis is relatively straightforward
4. Various treatments are available
Treatment generally involves cryotherapy to remove the damaged skin cells, which are generally located in the epidermis layer. Epidermis regenerates from surrounding cells that have not suffered sun damage. Other treatments can involve surgical excision (cutting and removing), chemical peels, or cauterizing (burning). The choice of treatment depends upon the size of the cancer, its location, how long you have had the tumor, and how much scarring is likely to occur with each treatment. Scarring is generally minimal and our dermatologist recommends a treatment plan to minimize or remove scarring and prevent recurrence.