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Basal Cell Carcinoma

photo of medical professional holding a sign saying Basal-Cell Carcinoma | Goodman DermatologyWhat is Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) affects more people than any other type of skin cancer. About seventy-five percent of all people diagnosed with skin cancer learn they have BCC each year. Younger patients are developing this type of epidermal cancer more often than before. In previous years, older patients (in mid-life and older) were most often diagnosed. Basal cell carcinoma can develop anywhere on the body but it’s most frequently seen in areas of the skin previously exposed to UV rays from sun or tanning salons. The lesions most commonly develop on the neck, face of scalp.

Is skin cancer a serious condition?

Yes! All skin cancers represent a serious risk to health. Though this type of epidermal cancer tends to grow more slowly than other types, it’s possible for basal cell carcinoma to spread to other parts of the body or to the patient’s bones.

Who’s at highest risk for this type of cancer?

People with light skin, such as Caucasians, suffer this type of cancer more often than all others. However, people of any race or skin color can develop BCC. If identified and treated before the cancer grows or spreads, basal cell carcinoma is also considered the most treatable form of epidermal cancer. Goodman Dermatology treats patients with all human skin diseases and conditions including basal cell carcinoma.

Are there risk factors for BCC?

Yes, there are. Patients with exposure to UVA and UBA light (from sun or tanning lamps) are a risk factor for basal cell carcinoma. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the development of basal cell carcinoma happens over ten, twenty, or more years.

Could I have one or more different types of skin cancer?

Unfortunately, yes. Squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma can also appear with basal cell carcinoma. Pre-cancerous lesions, known as actinic keratoses, may also be present on the patient’s skin. Patients who may have skin cancer should call Dr. Marcus B. Goodman now.

Are there any telltale signs of BCC?

Look for an almost shiny or scar-like lesion. Blood vessels may grow in the lesion also. Because biopsy is the only way to confirm the diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma, it’s important to make an appointment with the dermatologist right away. Self-diagnosis is never advised.

Are there different varieties of this type of skin cancer?

Five different variations of Basal Cell Carcinoma exist, and each form looks a bit different. Pigmented, nodular, superficial, fibrosing-sclerotic, or fibroepithelioma of Pinkus are all forms of basal cell carcinoma:

Pigmented: Some researchers say this type can look almost like nodular basal cell carcinoma. Deeply pigmented brow or black colors may appear on the lesion.

Nodular: More than half of all patients with basal cell carcinoma present with this form. Lesions are thin and flat at first and/or grow a bump later. As the lesion grows, the center collapses and the bordering skin may appear higher than the nodular center. Researchers point out that most nodular basal cell carcinoma appears on the facial skin. Since disfiguration is a real risk for some patients, it’s important to schedule a consultation with the dermatologist as soon as possible.

Fibrosing-Sclerotic: As the name implies, these lesions may look scar-like and appear most often on the face. The tumors are flat, thin and appear to sink into the skin.

Superficial: This variety looks something like a red, crusty, or inflamed rash. The rash won’t clear up on its own, and may develop a scaly appearance over time. This type of basal cell carcinoma is most often seen on legs/arms or the trunk region.

Fibroepithelioma of Pinkus: Some basal cell carcinoma lesions appear on skin that hasn’t been directly exposed to sunlight, such as the soles of feet or the genital region. It’s important to avoid tanning beds that expose the entire body to potentially harmful UVA/UVB radiation.

How is a biopsy performed?

Goodman Dermatology will evaluate the lesion and choose the right form of biopsy according to the depth of the lesion. A shave biopsy is done with a small blade and shaves cells from the skin. If the lesion is deep, the dermatologist will perform a punch biopsy. The skin tissue is then prepared for microscopic evaluation.

What is the treatment for BCC?

There are various recommended treatments for basal cell carcinoma patients and, upon confirmed diagnosis, Goodman Dermatology will recommend one or more options, including:

–Surgical removal
–Mohs surgery (for lesions on the face with a two cm or greater diameter; and for sclerotic type lesions)
–Curettage and Electrodessication
–Topical medicines or treatments

Researchers at Mayo Clinic advise early treatment of basal cell carcinoma lesions. If left untreated, basal cell carcinoma can rupture the skin and spread to other areas or tissues. It’s possible to lose an eye, ear, or even a nose because of basal cell carcinoma. Don’t listen to people who say, “it’s just skin cancer!”

Conclusion

Goodman Dermatology welcomes patients with concerns about Basal Cell Carcinoma and skin cancer. Those living in Roswell, Alpharetta, Cumming, East Cobb, Woodstock, Canton, Holly Springs and throughout greater metropolitan Atlanta should call Dr. Marcus B. Goodman to arrange an appointment at (770) 754-0787.