How Fast Does Basal Cell Carcinoma Grow
From what I have read, basal cell carcinoma tends to be slow growing. What exactly does that mean? I am 43 years old and have a BCC located just below my nose and scheduled for Mohs surgery on Tuesday. I have had the BCC for at least 5 years, probably longer. My surgeon tells me that there is no way to know how much tissue will be removed until surgery. Immediately following the Mohs surgery, I will see a plastic surgeon to repair the wound. My bcc is pink slightly elevated with a rolled border and a crusted indentation in the center. When i went to the dermatologist, he knew right away just from looking at it that it was a BCC, biopsy confirmed. Do they grow at a certain rate? I just want to be prepared. Any information will be helpful.
When Should I See My Doctor
If you have had one BCC, you have a 50% chance of developing another one, so it is important to check your skin regularly.
Most people find BCCs by checking their own skin and looking for changes. See a doctor if you find:
- a spot that is different from other spots on your skin
- a spot that has changed size, shape, colour or texture
- a sore that doesnt heal
- a sore that is itchy or bleeds
What Does It Look Like
BCCs vary in their appearance. People often become aware of them as an area of discoloured skin, a lump, or area of skin that bleeds, scabs and then refuses to heal. Occasionally they are itchy. Usually BCCs are painless.
There are subtypes of BCC. The subtypes may have a different appearance and may require different treatment.
- Nodular BCC: Form a nodule with a pearly rim and may have a central crater. Fine blood vessels are visible within the nodule.
- Superficial BCC: Look like a scaly red patch on the skin with a thin translucent rolled border. Common on the upper trunck and shoulders.
- Morphoeic BCC: Also known as sclerosing BCC. This resembles a scar with a waxy appearance and indistinct margins it may be subtle. Often this type of BCC is much larger than it initally appears, it may invade deeply and infiltrate nerves .
- Basosqamous BCC: Mixed BCC and squamous cell carcinoma that is potentially more aggressive than other forms of BCC.
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Is It Time For Your Annual Skin Check
One of the best ways to prevent basal cell carcinoma is to take steps to protect your skin from the sun, including daily sunscreen, protective clothing, and seeking shade whenever possible. If you have a high risk of developing skin cancer, then make sure that you dont miss your yearly skin check-up with your dermatologist.
Are you experiencing any symptoms that concern you? Schedule an appointment with the dermatologists at the Center for Surgical Dermatology. Were now accepting patients for telemedical appointments!
Can You Die From Basal Cell Carcinoma
Death from either basal cell or squamous cell cancers is quite rare. Statistics for these types of skin cancer arent tracked by cancer registries, so its difficult to have specific numbers, but its thought that less than 2,000 people in the U.S. die from both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas each year.
These deaths are predominantly in elderly people who have not had their skin checked in a long time and cancer has grown quite large.
Considering there are over 4 million diagnosed cases of basal cell carcinoma each year in the U.S. , the risk of death from this form of skin cancer is quite low.
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What Is Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma Of Skin
- Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin is a malignant cancer affecting the skin. It is a slow-growing tumor generally observed in older individuals, in both men and women
- This malignant carcinoma, which may be present as a lesion on the sun-exposed areas of the body, has the potential to metastasize to the lymph nodes
- Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin is the most common type of BCC that is present as nodules on the skin, usually in the head and neck area
- Some nodules may grow to large sizes and ulcerate. They can also infiltrate into the adjoining soft tissues and nerves. Larger tumors also have a greater tendency to recur after treatment
- The cause of Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin is unknown, but factors such as chronic sun exposure, smoking, and ionizing radiation, etc., are known to contribute towards its development. Also, fair-skinned Caucasians have a greater risk than dark-skinned Africans and Asians
- Any combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and invasive procedures are used to treat Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma of Skin. Small-sized tumors and tumors that have not metastasized can be cured through appropriate skin surgery
- The prognosis for metastatic tumors depends upon many factors including the stage of the tumor, health status of the individual, and treatment response. The prognosis may be guarded
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The Most Common Skin Cancer
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 3.6 million cases are diagnosed each year. BCCs arise from abnormal, uncontrolled growth of basal cells.
Because BCCs grow slowly, most are curable and cause minimal damage when caught and treated early. Understanding BCC causes, risk factors and warning signs can help you detect them early, when they are easiest to treat and cure.
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Treatment Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Removal of the tumor
Doctors may remove the cancer in the office by scraping and burning it with an electric needle or by cutting it out. Doctors may destroy the cancer by using extreme cold .
After removing all of the cancer, doctors decide how best to replace the skin that has been cut away. They may bring the edges of the remaining skin together with sutures or use a skin graft Skin Tissue transplantation is the removal of various tissues, such as skin cells, corneas, cartilage, or bone, from a body and then inserting that tissue into the same or another person who has… read more or skin flap. Or they may place dressings on top of the wound and let the skin heal on its own.
Mohs surgery reduces recurrence rates for skin cancers. This surgery is useful for basal cell and squamous cell cancers but is less often used for melanoma.
Can Basal Cell Carcinomas Be Cured
Yes, BCCs can be cured in almost every case, although treatment can be more complicated if the BCC has been neglected for a long time, or if it occurs in an awkward place, such as close to the eye or on the nose or ear.
BCCs rarely spread to other parts of the body. Therefore, although it is a type of skin cancer it is almost never a danger to life.
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How Is Basal Cell Carcinoma Staged
In rare situations, such as when the original lesion is more than 2 millimeters thick, or when it has invaded the lower layers of the skin, a stage may be assigned. The stages range from zero to four higher numbers indicate more aggressive cancers. Most oncologists use the following scale:
- Stage 0 basal cell carcinoma These cancers are only present in the epidermis or the upper layer of the skin. They have not spread to any of the deeper layers or lymph nodes.
- Stage 1 basal cell carcinoma These cancers are smaller than 2 centimeters and have not spread to any nearby lymph nodes or organs, but may have one factor that increases the risk of spreading or recurrence .
- Stage 2 basal cell carcinoma These cancers are larger than 2 centimeters, and while they have not spread to other organs or lymph nodes, they have two or more factors that make them likely to return or spread.
- Stage 3 basal cell carcinoma These cancers have spread to local lymph nodes , but not to other organs.
- Stage 4 basal cell carcinoma These cancers have spread to several lymph nodes, bones or other organs, and they may be any size.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we treat patients with all stages of basal cell carcinoma. Our skilled oncologists can determine whether a lesion is likely to spread and what treatments are expected to be most beneficial. No referral is necessary to meet with our team call or complete a new patient registration form online.
Is Basal Cell Skin Cancer Dangerous Ive Heard It Doesnt Spread So Do I Need To Worry About Getting It
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Identifying The Types Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Did you know that skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the US and globally? Of the various kinds of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma is the most common, with up to 4.3 million new cases discovered annually in America. The good news? In the early stages, most types of basal cell carcinoma have a high cure rate and cause very little damage.
This month, were exploring the types of basal cell carcinoma, including the causes, symptoms, and prognosis for recovery.
There Is Some Good News
There is some good news! According to the American Cancer Society, basal cell carcinomas rarely metastasize to lymph nodes, organs, or other areas of the body. This doesn’t mean, however, that they should be left untreated. Basal cell carcinoma can spread and do a lot of damage in the area where they form and can become quite disfiguring if they are left to grow.
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How Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treated
Although squamous cell carcinomas usually grow slowly, it is important to see a dermatologist quickly. “The sooner you see your doctor and the cancer is diagnosed and treated, the less complicated the surgery to remove it will be, and the faster you will make a complete recovery, Dr. Leffell explains. The treatment for squamous cell cancer varies according to the size and location of the lesion. The surgical options are the same as those for basal cell cancer:
- Surgical excision: Removing a squamous cell lesion is a simple procedure that typically takes place in the dermatologist’s office. After numbing the cancer and the area around it with a local anesthetic, the doctor uses a scalpel to remove the tumor and some of the surrounding skin to make sure all cancer is eliminated. Estimating how much to take requires skill and expertise, Dr. Leffell notes. The risk of taking too little tissue is that some cancer remains taking too much leaves a larger scar than is necessary. Shaped like a football, the wound is stitched together, using plastic surgery techniques. If dissolvable stitches are used, they will disappear on their own as the area heals. Though the procedure leaves some redness and a small scar, it tends to become less noticeable over time. “The cure rate for this type of excision is typically about 90 to 93 percent,” says Dr. Leffell. But, of course, this is dependent on the skill and experience of the doctor.”
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:
Using sunscreen Sunscreens Sunburn results from a brief overexposure to ultraviolet light. Overexposure to ultraviolet light causes sunburn. Sunburn causes painful reddened skin and sometimes blisters, fever… read more : 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.
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Can Basal Cell Carcinoma Turn Into Melanoma
Basal cell carcinomas cannot progress or turn into melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma forms in the basal cells in the epidermis. They occur when DNA in the cells is damaged by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds. This triggers changes in basal cells in the outermost layer of the skin, resulting in uncontrolled growth. This is a basal cell carcinoma.
Melanoma begins in cells known as melanocytes. While they are also found in the epidermis, melanocytes are different than basal cells. Melanocytes produce a pigment, known as melanin, which gives the skin its color. When the skin is exposed to UV radiation, it causes skin damage that triggers the melanocytes to produce more melanin. This tanning of the skin is a protective mechanism. But when the burning of the skin causes DNA damage, mutations in the melanocytes result in uncontrolled cellular growth, melanoma.
Different Kinds Of Skin Cancer
There are many types of skin cancer. Some are very rare. Your doctor can tell you more about the type you have.
The two most common kinds of skin cancers are:
- Basal cell cancer, which starts in the lowest layer of the skin
- Squamous cell cancer, which starts in the top layer of the skin
Another kind of skin cancer is called melanoma. These cancers start from the color-making cells of the skin . You can read about melanoma in If You Have Melanoma Skin Cancer.
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There Actually Are Cases In Which Basal Cell Carcinoma Sometimes Called A Non
Youve probably read that basal cell carcinoma cant spread or doesnt spread, but does cause local destruction if not treated.
But basal cell carcinoma CAN spreadand kill.
Unlike melanomas, basal cell carcinomas usually do not metastasize but instead spread locally, says Dr. Tess Mauricio, MD, FAAD, a leading board certified dermatologist from Stanford University Medical School and CEO of MBeautyClinic.com.
However, if BCCs are allowed to spread without treatment, there could be a chance for metastasis, warns Dr. Mauricio.
What are the chances of basal cell carcinoma metastasis?
The chances, in terms of percent, have not been determined. However, check out the following:
Metastasis of basal cell carcinoma rarely occurs. Few cases have been reported in the literature.
the occurrence of BCC metastasis is exceedingly rare, with an average rate of approximately 0.03%, typically involving a large, long-standing, locally destructive, recalcitrant tumor of the head or neck.
Cutis, July 2007
To put this in more perspective, here are intriguing excerpts from DermatologyTimes .
A search of the current literature shows that only about 350 cases of metastatic BCC have been reported.
However, with 1 million new cases of BCC every year in the United States alone, Dr. Giannelli says it is very hard to believe, and highly unlikely, that these metastases do not occur more frequently than they are actually reported.
From the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology :
Who Gets Basal Cell Carcinoma
Risk factors for BCC include:
- Age and sex: BCCs are particularly prevalent in elderly males. However, they also affect females and younger adults
- Repeated prior episodes of sunburn
- Fair skin, blue eyes and blond or red hairnote BCC can also affect darker skin types
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What Makes Yale Medicines Approach To Squamous Cell Carcinoma Unique
Simple, small cancers can often be treated very well by a local dermatologist, according to Dr. Leffell. We rarely see the small cancers. We get referred to the cases that need special attention.
Dr. Leffell emphasizes that at Yale Medicine, the patient always comes first. We like to have a discussion with the patient about what happens after the skin cancer is removed, he says. We talk about what’s involved with plastic surgery and what’s involved with letting the area heal naturally. We prefer to take a minimalist approach and let the patient decide what they want us to do and how they want to let their skin heal.
If the decision is made to repair the wound using plastic surgery, we do that immediately in the office setting, Dr. Leffell says. Alternatively, allowing the wound to heal naturally is often a great option, and does not rule out doing plastic surgery down the road if needed, though that is very rarely the case.
How Dangerous Is A Basal Cell Carcinoma
While melanoma rightly deserves the attention it receives as the most dangerous form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma isnt something to brush off as harmless. Yes, this most common form of skin cancer rarely causes fatalities, but it can become quite disfiguring.
While basal cell carcinoma lesions rarely spread beyond the original tumor site, they should not be allowed to grow freely. These lesions can grow widely, penetrating deeply into the skin destroying skin, tissue, and bone. Plus, the longer you leave a basal cell carcinoma untreated, the more likely it is to come back. And because it will usually return in the same area, this can create problems removing the lesions without overly disfiguring the patient.
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What Are The Symptoms
Check for basal cell carcinoma where your skin is most exposed to the sun, especially the face, ears, neck, scalp, chest, shoulders and back, but remember that they can occur anywhere on the body.
Frequently, two or more of these warning signs are visible in a tumor.