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Can You Freeze Basal Cell Carcinoma

Symptoms Of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Cryotherapy Treatment | Auburn Medical Group

Basal cell carcinoma usually begins as a painless bump or nodule that grows slowly. Later, it becomes an open ulcer with a hard edge. Nearly 90% of basal cell carcinomas occur on the face, but they can appear on any part of the body that is sometimes exposed to the sunthe face, ears, neck, back, chest, arms, and legs.

Although basal cell carcinoma almost never spreads to other organs and is rarely fatal, it can invade surrounding tissue and be disfiguring if not treated.

Laser Surgery Is Not Fda

Laser surgery is not currently used as a standard treatment for basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. It can, however, be an effective secondary treatment. Laser treatment is sometimes used after Mohs surgery to complete the removal of cancer cells. Lasers are effective at removing precancerous lesions, but have not been proven effective at treating cancer yet.

Cryotherapy For Basal Cell Carcinoma

Small superficial BCCs are ideally treated with cryotherapy if appropriate selection criteria are applied.

Patients with pale skin types are less likely to have pigmentation disturbances after treatment with cryotherapy than those with pigmented skin.

Evidence sources

No randomised controlled studies have compared cryotherapy with surgical excision or other treatment modalities in the treatment of BCC.

Tumour selection

Investigators emphasise the importance of careful tumour selection to achieve acceptable results. Histological confirmation of the BCC and analysis for high-risk features is strongly recommended.

Cryosurgery is most effective for primary well-defined lesions of non-aggressive subtypes at sites other than the head and neck. Patients in whom cryotherapy can achieve equivalent outcomes to surgical excision include those with appropriately selected small superficial BCC and less pigmented skin types where there is a low risk of post-treatment pigmentation disturbances.

In general, cryotherapy is contraindicated for sclerosing or ill-defined BCCs and relatively contraindicated for high-risk facial sites such as lips, alar creases, inner canthi and periauricular regions.

Repeated freezethaw cycles with margins of 35mm are recommended.

Cure rates

Tumour features influencing outcome

Site criteria are also essential in selecting BCCs suitable for cryosurgery. Tumours on the trunk and limbs respond with consistently high cure rates of greater than 97%.


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How Is Cryotherapy Performed

Cryotherapy is a quick and simple procedure that your doctor can do in the office. Your doctor may draw an outline around the lesion. Liquid nitrogen is often sprayed, although a swab or cryoprobe also could be used.1

The sprayer is held about 1 centimeter above the lesion. As your doctor sprays the area, an iceball will form around the lesion and margin.1,2 Your doctor will continue to spray the area for up to 30 seconds after the iceball forms. This keeps the area frozen for long enough to destroy the tissue. Depending on the lesion, your doctor may allow the area to thaw for 2 to 3 minutes and then re-freeze the area.1 For actinic keratosis, re-freezing may not be necessary.1

The spray or probe reaches temperatures as low as -13ºF to -58ºF.1 This causes cells to freeze immediately. Inflammation develops in the area within 24 hours, causing further destruction.1

How Do You Treat Skin Cancer On The Nose

What You Should Know About Basal Cell Carcinoma ...

The nose is a relatively common spot for skin cancer to develop. Skin cancer often starts on the face because it’s usually the body part that’s exposed to the sun. The two most common types of skin cancer that develop on the nose are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma . While both types of skin cancer should be addressed right away, BCC is usually slow-growing and SCC grows more quickly. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer ,with about 80% of cases occurring on the face and 25 to 30% on the nose.

The third type of skin cancer, melanoma, is rare and much more serious. It almost always requires excisional surgery to remove it. Fortunately, most forms of skin cancer are very treatable, especially when caught early. Treatment may include surgery, radiation, topical treatments, and more.

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Answer: Basal Cell Carcinoma On Bridge Of Nose

Although nonsurgical options such as Aldara and Radiation therapy exist, Mohs surgery remains the gold standard for treatment of any well defined skin cancer on anatomically sensitive areas such as the nose, eyelids, lips, ears. From the stand point of cosmesis and recurrence, Mohs is the better way to go.

Radiation: For Special Cases

If a basal or squamous cell carcinoma is difficult to remove surgically or the patient is elderly or in poor health, a physician might use radiation to destroy a basal or squamous cell carcinoma over the course of several treatment sessions. Possible side effects include skin irritation, changes in skin color, and hair loss in the treated area.

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Staging For Basal Cell Carcinoma And Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin Depends On Where The Cancer Formed

Staging for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the eyelid is different from staging for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma found on other areas of the head or neck. There is no staging system for basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma that is not found on the head or neck.

Surgery to remove the primary tumor and abnormal lymph nodes is done so that tissue samples can be studied under a microscope. This is called pathologic staging and the findings are used for staging as described below. If staging is done before surgery to remove the tumor, it is called clinical staging. The clinical stage may be different from the pathologic stage.

What Is The Likely Outcome For Someone Who Has Bcc

Basal cell carcinoma educational video

When found early and treated, this skin cancer can often be removed. However, this skin cancer can return. You also have a higher risk of developing another BCC or other type of skin cancer.

Thats why self-care becomes so important after treatment for BCC. Youll find the self-care that dermatologists recommend at, Basal cell carcinoma: Self-care.

ImageGetty Images

ReferencesBichakjian CK, Armstrong A, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of basal cell carcinoma. J Am Acad Dermatol 2018 78:540-59.

Bichakjian CK, Olencki T, et al. Basal cell skin cancer, Version 1.2016, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2016 14:574-97.

Cameron MC, Lee E, et al. Basal cell carcinoma: Epidemiology pathophysiology clinical and histological subtypes and disease associations. J Am Acad Dermatol 2019 80:303-17.

Cameron MC, Lee E, et al. Basal cell carcinoma: Contemporary approaches to diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. J Am Acad Dermatol 2019 80:321-39.

Nouri K, Ballard CJ, et al. Basal cell carcinoma. In: Nouri K, et al. Skin Cancer. McGraw Hill Medical, China, 2008: 61-81.

Xie P, Lefrançois P. Efficacy, safety, and comparison of sonic hedgehog inhibitors in basal cell carcinomas: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol 2018 79:1089-100.


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Standard Excision Of Primary Bcc With Predetermined Margins

Standard surgical excision is a highly effective treatment for primary BCC and historically has been the mostly common treatment option. BCCs are generally removed with a predetermined excision margin of 3-4mm of normal skin. Especially on the face, grafts and flaps may be necessary to close the wound, rather than direct closure.

A study of 2016 BCCs byBreuninger and Dietz, using horizontal sections to accurately detect BCC at any part of the surgical margin, found that excision of small lesions with a 2-mm peripheral surgical margin cleared 70%, margins of 3-mm cleared 84% and margins of 5-mm cleared 95% of all tumours. Morphoeic and large BCCs required wider surgical margins in order to maximize the chance of complete excision. For primary morphoeic lesions, the rate of complete excision was 66% for a 3-mm margin, 82% for 5-mm and > 95% for 1315mm.

Although little data exists on the correct deep surgical margin, excision through to the subcutaneous fat is generally advisable. Overall the 5-year recurrence rate after a simple excision of a BCC is reported as being between 4.1% and 10.1% . If the excision has been reported as histologically complete the recurrence rate is reported to be < 2% . This is due to sampling errors that occur as histological specimens are examined in a vertical plane.

What Types Of Skin Cancer Is Cryotherapy Used To Treat

Cryotherapy is one of the most common treatments for actinic keratosis.3 Actinic keratosis is a precancer, or a skin abnormality that may develop into skin cancer. Up to 10% of actinic keratoses become squamous cell carcinoma .4 For this reason, your doctor may recommend treating actinic keratoses. Cryotherapy cures between 75% and 99% of actinic keratoses.3

Cryotherapy is occasionally used to treat basal cell carcinoma or SCC that only affects the top layer of skin.5,6 Other terms used for these types of lesions are:

  • Thin BCC
  • SCC in situ, which is when the cancer cells are only in the top layer of skin
  • Bowens disease

Surgery is preferred for thin skin cancers. However, if surgery is not possible, cryotherapy may be an alternative. About 15% of BCC return within 1 year of cryotherapy, and 20% return within 5 years.5 Up to 20% of SCC in situ treated with cryotherapy return within 1 year.7

Small Kaposi sarcoma lesions on the face can be treated with cryotherapy.8

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How Dermatologists Treat Basal Cell Carcinoma

When possible, BCC is treated with a procedure called surgical removal. If you have an early BCC, this can often be performed in your dermatologists office while you remain awake. The following explains the types of surgical removal used to treat BCC, along with other treatment options.

Surgical removal: Three types of surgical removal are used to treat BCC. The type of surgical removal you receive depends largely on the type of BCC you have, where its located, and how deeply it goes.

Heres what involved with each type of surgical removal:

Freezing or light therapy: While surgical removal is often the preferred way to treat BCC, one of these following procedures may be recommended for some patients.

  • Freezing: The procedure is called cryotherapy , and it can be performed during an office visit. Cryotherapy involves spraying an extremely cold substance, such as liquid nitrogen, on the BCC to destroy the tumor.

  • Light therapy: The medical name for this procedure is . Its a two-part procedure. First, a solution that makes your skin more sensitive to light is applied to the cancer and a bit of skin around it. Youll sit with this solution on your skin for one to several hours.Once your skin is ready, it will be treated with a blue or red light to kill the cancerous cells.Light therapy can effectively treat some early BCCs, but you may need repeat treatments.

For a few patients, this may be the only treatment prescribed.

Basal Cell And Squamous Cell Carcinomatreatments

Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment

Numerous treatment options are available for basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. Your therapy will depend upon the type of skin cancer you have and its stage.

  • Surgery Many skin cancers can be cut from the skin quickly and easily. In fact, the cancer is sometimes completely removed at the time of the biopsy, and no further treatment is needed.
  • Curettage and Electrodesiccation Doctors commonly use a type of surgery called curettage. After a local anesthetic numbs the area, the cancer is scooped out with a curette, an instrument with a sharp, spoon-shaped end. The area is also treated by electrodesiccation. An electric current from a special machine is used to control bleeding and kill any cancer cells remaining around the edge of the wound. Most patients develop a flat, white scar.

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What Are The Risks Of Cryotherapy

Serious side effects are rare.3 Cryotherapy does not usually leave a scar. It can cause discoloration in the treated area. The discoloration may improve over several months, but it can be permanent.1 You also may have permanent hair loss in the area. Loss of sensation in the treated area is rare. If it does occur, it can take up to 18 months to regain sensation.1

Basal Cell Carcinoma Overview

Basal cell carcinoma, also called epithelioma, is the uncontrolled growth of the skin’s basal cells. These are the cells that line the deepest layer of the epidermis, the skin’s outermost layer. This type of cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body.

It is mainly caused by repeated long-term exposure to sunlight. Light-skinned people who spent a lot of time in the sun as children, or who spend time in tanning booths, are especially susceptible. X-ray treatments for acne and exposure to industrial pollutants such as arsenic and hydrocarbons also increase the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer in the United States, with nearly 3 million cases diagnosed each year.

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What Doctors And Specialists Treat Skin Cancer

If the skin cancer is a simple lesion thats easily treatable, patients may only need to see their primary care physician or a dermatologist. More complex or serious cases might require a team approach.

In addition to a dermatologist, the following experts are involved in skin cancer care, according to SkinCancer.net:

  • Nurse practitioner or physicians assistant

The Best Natural Treatments And Remedies For Basal Cell Carcinoma

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The basal cell carcinoma is not considered as a life threatening by the doctors, but any kind of cancer poses an important threat to the health. If you have any type of cancer, you have to search for a holistic treatment options that will manage the symptoms effectively and your condition too, and include needed medical supervision. Some natural cures for the basal cell carcinoma include hydrogen peroxide, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda.

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Targeted Therapy: Targeting Cancer Mutations

Targeted therapy, another revolutionary new category of treatment, focuses on characteristics of skin-cancer cells that make them different from normal cells, such as gene changes.

For instance, about one-half of all melanomas have mutations in the BRAF gene that cause out-of-control cellular growth.

Oral drugs that target this mutation are called BRAF inhibitors. These include Zelboraf and Taflinar . BRAF inhibitors are often combined with medication that targets a protein called MEK. Two such drugs are Mekinist and Cotellic .

Cancer May Spread From Where It Began To Other Parts Of The Body

When cancer spreads to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. Cancer cells break away from where they began and travel through the lymph system or blood.

  • Lymph system. The cancer gets into the lymph system, travels through the lymph vessels, and forms a tumor in another part of the body.
  • Blood. The cancer gets into the blood, travels through the blood vessels, and forms a tumor in another part of the body.

The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if skin cancer spreads to the lung, the cancer cells in the lung are actually skin cancer cells. The disease is metastatic skin cancer, not lung cancer.

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Treatments For Basal Cell Carcinoma

The following are treatment options for basal cell carcinoma of the skin. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on the . They will work with you to develop a treatment plan.

BCC is most often treated with local therapy. This means that only the cancer on the skin and the area around it are treated.

But if BCC has spread to other parts of the body, systemic therapy may be used. Systemic therapy travels through the bloodstream to reach and destroy cancer cells all over the body.

What Is The Treatment For Basal Cell Carcinoma


There are various types of treatments that may be used for a basal cell carcinoma, which is the most common type of skin cancer. For example, a doctor may remove the cancerous growth using a procedure called curettage and electrodesiccation or via surgical excision. Cryosurgery, which involves freezing the cancerous cells, may provide effective treatment as well. Additionally, a procedure called Mohs’ micrographic surgery may be used in the treatment of basal cell carcinoma. No matter what treatment is chosen, however, a doctors goal is usually to get rid of the cancer with minimal scarring for the patient.

One type of treatment for basal cell carcinoma is referred to as curettage and electrodesiccation. This procedure involves scooping the tumor out of the patients body using a curved medical instrument called a curette. Once the carcinoma has been removed from the skin, the doctor then employs electrodesiccation, which involves the use of an electric current, to help keep the patients bleeding to a minimum and destroy any cancerous cells that have been left behind. Usually, a patient will not need stitches after this treatment, and the skin is allowed to complete a natural healing process.

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Electrodessication And Curettage For Basal Cell Carcinoma

Small nodular and superficial BCCs are suited to treatment with EDC.

Following EDC, healing with acceptable scarring is more likely for BCC in concave areas, compared with convex areas, and for older patients than younger patients.

Evidence sources

No randomised controlled studies have compared EDC with surgical excision or other treatment modalities in the treatment of BCC.

Observational studies such as case series have reported outcomes of EDC in the treatment of BCC.

Cure rates

Cryotherapy achieves high cure rates for primary basal cell carcinoma in sites other than face and ears if tumour selection and treatment protocols are optimal. Cure rates of approximately 95% or higher have been reported for tumours smaller than 1cm in some sites .

Tumour selection

Lesion selection by site and size is critical .

Electrodessication and curettage is used for all sizes of lesion on low-risk areas .Higher recurrence rates have been reported with previously treated lesions.

Sclerosing BCCs are not treated with EDC, as they are not curettable due to the lack of a gelatinous stroma. Excisional data does confirm that histological type is a significant factor in recurrence sclerosing and other infiltrating types of BCC characterised histologically by small cell clumps show higher recurrence rates.


Basal cell carcinomas in concave areas heal with reduced scarring post EDC compared with those in convex areas.

Lesion: size/location


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