Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (Basal cell skin cancer), is the most common cancer among all human beings with an estimated annual incidence of 2-4 million new cancers per year. It is so common, that all other cancers combined do not equal the numbers of Basal Cell skin cancers that occur every year. Fortunately, it is extremely rare for these to spread outside of the skin, but they will continue to grow and cause issues with bleeding, pain and skin function.
At Michigan Dermatology Institute, our philosophy is to be aggressive at detecting these spots and treating them before they get too big or worse spread from the skin. There are many options, including scarless and painless ones, to treat these common cancers. We prefer to discuss all options with you, and proceed with the best opportunity for a cure that you want.
Q: Where do these come from?
A: Basal cell carcinomas arise from the epidermis, or top layer of the skin, and spread into the dermis as they progress. Sunburns, or bursts of sun exposure, are the most common factor that leads to the formation of these spots. Most of the time these are “non-healing” spots that persist and grow until an treatment occurs.
Q: What treatment options are available?
A: There are many options available to treat these lesions, depending on many factors (including the characteristics of the cancer, location, and patient factors). There are standard procedures including electrodessication and curettage (ED&C), malignant excisions, and Mohs surgery performed in office. There are technology-based procedures including light (PDT) and laser (CO2) therapies and radiation-based (XRT and EBT) therapy. Additionally, there are oral gene therapies available.
Q: What are the steps if I think I have a basal cell carcinoma?
A: First priority is to schedule an appointment to have the spot evaluated in person. Most likely, a biopsy will be performed that same day and sent to the microscope for analysis. Depending on the results of the biopsy, and our discussion of the treatment options, treatment will be scheduled. After the treatment, a follow-up appointment to ensure everything went well and a plan for long-term surveillance will be figured out.