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Does Basal Cell Carcinoma Need To Be Removed

What Are The Signs Of Bcc

It’s “just” basal cell

BCC usually forms on skin that has been exposed to the sun. Tumors on the head, ears, nose, and neck are common. Most tumors are not painful. The following are common signs of a BCC:

  • Shiny, waxy, pale or pink bumps or growths that may have blood vessels on the surface
  • Red, scaly patches
  • Open sores that may bleed and do not heal

Targeted Therapy Or Immunotherapy For Advanced Basal Cell Cancers

In rare cases where basal cell cancer spreads to other parts of the body or cant be cured with surgery or radiation therapy, a targeted drug such as vismodegib or sonidegib can often shrink or slow its growth.

If these drugs are no longer working , the immunotherapy drug cemiplimab can sometimes be helpful.

Know That Surgery Sites Heal In Time

Had basal cell on the side of my nose going toward the corner of my eye. Couldn’t see anything on the skin, but thanks to the keen eye of my derm she saw it, and did a biopsy, and sent me to a Mohs specialist at UAB. He removed it along with surrounding tissue, sutured, sent me on my way looking, well, terrible! Within 1 year, the scare is completely gone & can’t tell anything was done. Thankful for those yearly scans. – Debbie

I had Mohs done on a very small spot on side of nose right by eye. They had to put me to sleep and did a flap on forehead. Also had Mohs on lip. It went about 2 inches outside of mouth and about an inch in mouth. Great results. Almost unnoticeable. – Joy

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Taking Care Of Yourself

After you’ve been treated for basal cell carcinoma, you’ll need to take some steps to lower your chance of getting cancer again.

Check your skin. Keep an eye out for new growths. Some signs of cancer include areas of skin that are growing, changing, or bleeding. Check your skin regularly with a hand-held mirror and a full-length mirror so that you can get a good view of all parts of your body.

Avoid too much sun. Stay out of sunlight between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s UVB burning rays are strongest.

Use sunscreen. The suns UVA rays are present all day long — thats why you need daily sunscreen. Make sure you apply sunscreen with at least a 6% zinc oxide and a sun protection factor of 30 to all parts of the skin that aren’t covered up with clothes every day. You also need to reapply it every 60 to 80 minutes when outside.

Dress right. Wear a broad-brimmed hat and cover up as much as possible, such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants.


When Should I See A Healthcare Provider About Basal Cell Carcinoma

What Does Advanced Basal Cell Carcinoma Look Like?

It is important to contact a healthcare provider any time you have a skin problem that does not resolve. This means developing any new or larger mole, lump or sore, or new symptoms such as pain or itchiness. If you have had BCC or another type of skin cancer, you will probably be given a recommended schedule of needed appointments. You should follow up on these appointments as directed.

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How Is Basal Cell Cancer Of The Head And Neck Diagnosed

Diagnosis is made by clinical exam and a biopsy. Basal cell cancers are staged by size and extent of growth. These cancers rarely metastasize to lymph nodes or other organs, but they can grow quite large and invade small nerves and local structures.

Biopsy can help determine if the basal cell cancer is a low-risk tumor or a high-risk tumor that requires more aggressive treatment. Low-risk tumors are often nodular and do not have nerve involvement. High-risk tumors in the head and neck are those that involve the central face, nose and eye area, as well as those tumors that are greater than or equal to 10 millimeters on the cheeks, scalp and neck tumors that are recurrent or arising from previously radiated tissue and tumors arising in patients who are immunosuppressed. An aggressive growth pattern on the pathology evaluation and perineural invasion are also features of high-risk basal cell cancers.

What Is Basal Cell Skin Cancer

Basal cell skin cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the skin. It’s almost always cured when it’s found early and treated.

This cancer grows slowly. Over time, it can damage deeper tissues, such as muscles and bones. But it doesn’t usually spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.

It’s usually caused by too much sun. Tanning beds and sunlamps can also cause it.

Surgery is the most common treatment for basal cell skin cancer.

If the cancer is the low-risk type, you may have a choice between surgery and a medicated cream. The cancer is usually low-risk if it’s small, not deep, and has well defined borders. Your doctor will tell you if using a cream is a good option for you.

There are other treatments for this cancer, such as radiation and photodynamic therapy , and laser treatments. If you don’t want to have surgery or use medicated cream, talk to your doctor about what else you might try.

Basal cell skin cancer sometimes comes back, no matter which treatment is used.

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What Are The Risks Of Treatment

Both surgery and medicated creams carry the risks of infection and pain or discomfort.

Both treatments have high cure rates, but the cure rate for creams is not as good as the cure rate for surgery.

Surgery usually leaves a scar. If a skin graft is used, it can tighten as it heals and make movement more difficult. Medicated creams don’t leave scars. But there is a risk that they will leave some permanent patches of darker or lighter skin.

No matter which treatment you choose, there’s always a risk that the cancer could come back.

How Is Bcc Treated

Cailin’s Story From “The Doctors” – Basal Cell Carcinoma

Treatment depends on your cancer, the area affected, and any other health conditions you may have:

  • Surgery is the most common treatment. Your healthcare provider will remove the tumor. He or she may look at the tissue pieces with a microscope to make sure all of the cancer cells are removed. He or she may use an electric needle to burn off cancer cells or freeze the tumor with a chemical.
  • Skin medicines may be used to help remove the cancer. This includes medicines that kill the cancer cells directly or help your immune system to attack the cancer cells.
  • Radiation may be used to kill the cancer cell if you cannot have surgery, are older, or have a large tumor.

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Treating Basal Cell Carcinomas

  • We cannot be sure whether a suspicious growth is a form of skin cancer just by looking at it. In order to be sure, a dermatologist must take a small piece of the growth and send it for microscopic analysis . The skin will often heal after a biopsy. This is because the skin grows over the cancer like a blanket.
  • After a biopsy has been done and a basal cell carcinoma is found by the pathologist, the tumor needs to be removed. They are not cured by doing a biopsy further surgery is required.
  • Surgery will always leave a scar. There is no way to remove a cancer without leaving a scar, but it can oftentimes be hidden in the skin folds. They are often much bigger under the skin than they appear on the surface. What one can see on the surface is only the tip of the iceberg. That is why the hole left after removing a basal cell cancer is often much larger than what can be seen before surgery.
  • There are a number of potential surgical options, including Mohs, radiation, chemo, electrodessication and various others. Your doctor will discuss the various procedures with you and help you determine which one is ideal for your particular situation.
  • The most important point about skin cancer is it needs to be completely removed. Many people have lost body parts because of these tumors and some people have even lost their lives.

Physical And Emotional Support

Jen says, After the actual cancer was removed at Suburban Hospital, Dr. Desai performed two reconstructions at Johns Hopkins Hospital, starting with a forehead flap procedure, which was really an uncomfortable process.

Dr. Desai says, The forehead flap is a time-honored method for rebuilding the tissues of the nose when there is a large defect due to cancer surgery or trauma. A piece of skin from the forehead is cut away and sewn over the nose. When the flap forms its own blood supply, in two or three weeks, its cut free from the forehead and gives the plastic surgeon tissue to work with in reforming the nose.

Jen says that while the flap of skin from her forehead was healing around her nose, she wanted to hide her appearance from her children. For a week she closed herself off in her bedroom, and she and her children passed loving notes under the door. Jens husband, Greg, was right by her side, changing her bandages and cleaning her wounds every day. Jen says that the support from her family, along with her religious faith, were essential in helping her face the long recovery.

She got additional support at Johns Hopkins. I can’t even say how phenomenal Dr. Desai was. He was so down-to-earth and helped me understand everything that was happening to me. Every time I went, he encouraged me and was honest, but positive.

Jen is getting back to her busy life, supported by her family, her faith, and her care team at Johns Hopkins.

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Additional And Relevant Useful Information For Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma Of Skin:

There are multiple types of Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin:

  • Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin
  • Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin
  • Infiltrating Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin
  • Micronodular Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin
  • Fibroepithelial Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin with Adnexal Differentiation
  • Basosquamous Carcinoma of Skin
  • Keratotic Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin

Treating Basal Cell Carcinoma

basal cell carcinoma : Basal Cell Carcinoma pictures ...

Several types of treatment can be used to remove or destroy basal cell skin cancers. The options depend on factors such as the tumor size and location, and a persons age, general health, and preferences. These cancers very rarely spread to other parts of the body, although they can grow into nearby tissues if not treated.

All of the treatments listed here can be effective when used in appropriate situations. The chance of the cancer coming back ranges from less than 5% after Mohs surgery to up to 15% or higher after some of the others, but this depends on the size of the tumor. Small tumors are less likely to recur than larger ones. Even if a tumor does recur, it can often still be treated effectively.

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What Should I Do If I Suspect A Cancerous Growth

  • As soon as you notice something on your body that resembles any of the pictures on this page, make an appointment with your dermatologist as soon as possible. The earlier you take care of it, the better off you will be.
  • Dont panic and assume the worst. Even if it turns out to be basal cell carcinoma which is the most common cancer, it is very treatable and prognosis is excellent if it is treated quickly.

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What Are The Treatments For Basal Cell Carcinoma

BCC is treated by removing it. The choice of treatment depends on many things, including patient health and age, the location of the tumor, and the extent and type of the cancer. Treatment may occur in many ways:

  • Scratching off with a curette, an instrument that may end in a ring or a spoon, and then burning with a special electric needle. This method is called electrodessication and curettage.
  • Surgical removal
  • Mohs surgery: This is a specialized technique. The doctor first removes the visible cancer and then begins cutting around the edges. The tissues are examined during the surgery until no more cancer cells are found in tissues around the wound. If necessary, a skin graft or flap might be applied to help the wound heal.
  • Excisional surgery: The growth and a bit of surrounding skin is removed with a scalpel.
  • Freezing
  • Applying chemotherapy medication to the skin
  • Using lasers
  • Using blue light and a light-sensitive agent applied to the skin
  • Using radiation
  • If the BCC has advanced locally or spread to another location, which is very rare for BCC, the FDA has approved two medicines: vismodegib and sonidegib . These drugs are of a class called hedgehog inhibitors.

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    Basal Cell Carcinoma Staging

    Staging is the process of determining whether cancer has spread and, if so, how far. The stage of the disease may affect the treatment plan.

    The stage is based on the size of the tumor, how deeply into the skin it has grown, and whether cancer has spread beyond the tumor to the lymph nodes. Your doctor will look at the results of the biopsy to determine the stage. In rare cases, your doctor may recommend imaging such as CT or PET-CT scan to see if the cancer has spread beyond the skin

    Stages are numbered in Roman numerals between 0 and IV.

    Most non-melanoma skin cancers are Stage 0 or Stage 1. Stage 3 and 4 are relatively rare. Based on the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, your overall health, and other factors, your doctor works with you to develop a treatment plan.

    High risk features for primary tumor staging

    • Depth/invasion: > 2 mm thickness , Clark level IV, Perineural invasion
    • Anatomic: Primary site ear
    • Location: Primary site hair-bearing lip
    • Differentiation: Poorly differentiated or undifferentiated

    What Is The Prognosis Of Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma Of Skin

    • In general, the prognosis of Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin is excellent, if it is detected and treated early.
    • Stage of tumor: With this lower-stage tumor, the prognosis is usually excellent with appropriate therapy
    • The surgical resectability of the tumor
    • Overall health of the individual: Individuals with overall excellent health have better prognosis compared to those with poor health
    • Age of the individual: Older individuals generally have poorer prognosis than younger individuals
    • Whether the tumor is occurring for the first time, or is a recurrent tumor. Recurring tumors have a poorer prognosis compared to tumors that do not recur
  • Without treatment , Superficial Basal-Cell Cancer of Skin can become invasive. This may result in a poor prognosis
  • Close and regular follow-up and long-term monitor for recurrence of BCC has to be maintained
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    Prevention Of Basal Cell Carcinoma

    Because basal cell carcinoma is often caused by sun exposure, people can help prevent this cancer by doing the following:

    • Avoiding the sun: For example, seeking shade, minimizing outdoor activities between 10 AM and 4 PM , and avoiding sunbathing and the use of tanning beds

    • Wearing protective clothing: For example, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and broad-brimmed hats

    • Using sunscreen: At least sun protection factor 30 with UVA and UVB protection used as directed and reapplied every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating but not used to prolong sun exposure

    In addition, any skin change that lasts for more than a few weeks should be evaluated by a doctor.

    How Quickly Should Basal Cell Carcinoma Be Removed

    How long after diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma would a doctor recommend removing it? I am aware that basal cell carcinoma is very common and there is a %90 cure rate, as well as the fact that it rarely metastasizes. Will waiting several months after diagnosis to remove it decrease cure rate? Is this something that needs to be removed immediately to have the best prognosis?? Thank you so much for your time, you have no idea how much this will help me!

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    Surgery For Basal And Squamous Cell Skin Cancers

    Surgery is a common treatment for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. Different surgical techniques can be used. The options depend on the type of skin cancer, how large the cancer is, where it is on the body, and other factors. Most often the surgery can be done in a doctors office or hospital clinic using a local anesthetic . For skin cancers with a high risk of spreading, surgery sometimes will be followed by other treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy.

    How Successful Is Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment

    10 Symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma

    Mohs micrographic surgery has the best cure rates with basal cell carcinoma, a 99 percent cure rate for carcinomas that are not returning growths. The cure rate when basal cell carcinomas are removed with wide excision can be as high as 98 percent. With curettage and electrodesiccation, the rate is from 91 to 97 percent.

    Basal cell carcinoma is not considered life-threatening in almost all cases. It is simply disfiguring.

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    What Are The Complications/side Effects Of The Treatments For Basal Cell Carcinoma

    Most of the complications related to BCC treatments other than the hedgehog inhibitors are cosmetic, such as scarring or redness.

    People who use sonidegib or vismodegib should make sure to use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy due to the risk of birth defects. In addition, sonidegib has other potential risks, including problems with nerves and muscles.


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