A basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common types of skin cancer, affecting millions of people in the US each year. Like most forms of skin cancer, basal cell carcinomas develop on areas of the face and body that are more likely to be exposed to the sun. This includes the neck, ears, nose, hands, and chest. Since basal cell carcinomas are due to damage caused by sun exposure, one of the best ways to protect your skin from this and any form of skin cancer is to wear sunscreen every day and to visit your dermatologist once a year for a skin cancer screening.
What does a basal cell carcinoma look like?
Basal cell carcinomas vary in appearance. It usually looks like a growth or sore that doesn't go away. Unlike melanoma, basal cell carcinoma may appear as:
- A white or skin-colored bump
- A black, blue, or brown spot
- A scar-like growth or spot
- A flat reddish patch with raised edges (may also appear scaly)
If you notice any growths or sores that don't heal it's important to see your dermatologist right away for an evaluation. If we suspect that the growth might be cancerous, we will biopsy (take a sample of tissue) and analyze it to see if there are any cancer cells present.
What are the risk factors for basal cell carcinoma?
While anyone can develop skin cancer, there are factors that can increase your chances of developing a basal cell carcinoma during your lifetime. These factors include:
- Older age
- Long-term sun exposure
- Past sunburns
- A family history of skin cancer
- Fair skin
- Exposure to radiation therapy
How are basal cell carcinomas treated?
If we do detect a basal cell carcinoma when you come in for your skin cancer screening or evaluation, we will also discuss the different treatment options available to you. The treatment that we offer will depend on the size and location of the cancerous growth. If this is a recurring basal cell carcinoma, this will also dictate how we treat it. The two most common treatment options include:
Mohs surgery: This is considered the "gold standard" when it comes to removing cancerous lesions, particularly on delicate areas that require as much healthy tissue preservation as possible. If you have a basal cell carcinoma on your face, ears, or neck, then our team may recommend Mohs surgery for removing the lesion.
Surgical excision: if you have a basal cell carcinoma on your hands, feet, or chest, then we may recommend a simple excision. This is in which we cut out the lesion and tissue around it. This is to remove all cancer cells.
you are noticing any changes to moles or other skin growths, it is
important that you see a dermatologist right away.
Call Precision Dermatology in Sun City, AZ, at (623) 875-2600 to schedule an evaluation.