Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma has been diagnosed in more than 2 million cases in the United States yearly. It is commonly found on the face and nose.

Signs and symptoms of basal cell carcinoma may include:

  • Dome-shaped skin growth with visible blood vessels
  • Pink or skin colored possible brown or black
  • May flatten in center, ooze or crust
  • Tend to bleed easily
  • Shiny pink or red slightly scaly patch
  • Waxy feeling hard pale white to yellow or skin colored growth that looks like a scar
  • Look like sore that bleeds easily, won't heal, or returns, oozes/crusts, sunken center

People with the following characteristics are more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma

  • Fair or freckled skin
  • Blue, green, gray eyes
  • Blond or red hair
  • Inability to tan
  • Frequently used tanning beds
  • Lots of sun time without sunscreen

When you skin receives too many UV rays from tanning beds or the sun it causes repetitive damage to your skin. The UV rays damage the DNA in your skin cells. Your body works to repair these damages, but after repetitive damage it is no longer able to. This is when cancer is able to develop.

Basal cell carcinoma is diagnosed by a biopsy.

The best treatment will be decided by your dermatologist. Some of the options include:

  • Excision: surgical removal of cancer and some surrounding tissue
  • Curettage & electrodessication: tumor is scraped away then electricity destroys the cancer cells
  • MOHS surgery: highest cure rate; cuts out cancer and small amount of normal looking skin; microscope; again
  • cryosurgery: liquid nitrogen
  • Radiation
  • PDT: chemical applied to skin and light to destroy cancer