Know That Surgery Sites Heal In Time
Had basal cell on the side of my nose going toward the corner of my eye. Couldnt 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 & cant 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
How Long Can I Wait To Have My Basal Cell Carcinoma Treated
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Is Mohs Right For Me
Mohs surgery is the gold standard for treating many basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas , including those in cosmetically and functionally important areas around the eyes, nose, lips, ears, scalp, fingers, toes or genitals. Mohs is also recommended for BCCs or SCCs that are large, aggressive or growing rapidly, that have indistinct edges, or have recurred after previous treatment. Some surgeons are also successfully using Mohs surgery on certain cases of melanoma.
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Who Is Affected By Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma affects slightly more men than women. It occurs more often in older people. People with fair skin and light eyes are more likely to get BCC. It is 19 times more common in whites than blacks, but people of color may still be affected. People who have had BCC once are at higher risk for developing another lesion.
What Is The Difference Between Basal Cell And Squamous Cell Cancer
Basal cell carcinoma accounts for more than 90 percent of all skin cancers in the United States and is the most common of all cancers. Typically, it is a slow-growing cancer that seldom spreads to other parts of the body. Squamous cell carcinoma also rarely spreads, but does so more often than basal cell carcinoma.
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Benefits Of Curettage And Electrodesiccation
Your doctor will discuss all the possible complications associated with a curettage and electrodesiccation before the procedure is scheduled.
For the right patient, there are many benefits of having a curettage and electrodesiccation procedure over other more invasive procedures. Advantages include:
- The procedure can be performed in as little as one hour
- No stitches are necessary
- A follow-up appointment to remove stitches is not needed
What Causes This Form Of Skin Cancer
- Repeated, prolonged sun exposure causes skin damage which may develop into basal cell carcinoma.
- The sun damage responsible usually occurred years before the cancer begins.
- They are most common on the face because the face receives more sunlight than other parts of the body.
- Fair-skinned individuals are more prone to skin cancer than darker persons, since skin pigment protects the skin. Persons of African ancestry with very dark skin practically never get this form of skin cancer.
- People who get oneare very likely to develop more. Often people will develop a second basal cell carcinoma close to the spot were one has been treated because the surrounding skin is just as damaged by the sun as the skin where the first one grew.
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How Does Basal Cell Carcinoma Grow Over Time
Basal cell carcinoma grows very slowly. Over time, wounds often occur that heal periodically and you can therefore think that the problem is over. Symptoms may have causes other than cancer. Here you can find out more about benign skin changes. There are also other types of skin cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma.
Can Basal Cell Carcinoma Be Cured
In the vast majority of cases, basal cell skin cancer can be cured. The survival rates are excellent however, the exact statistics remain unknown. Unlike other cancers, basal and squamous cell skin cancers are not tracked by cancer registries, so the statistics are not available.
In some cases, basal skin cancer can recur. The risk of recurrence appears to be linked to the type of treatment used to treat the cancer.
Research has indicated that the recurrence risk is:
- Just above 10% after surgical excision
- Slightly less than 8% after electrodesiccation and curettage
- Approximately 7.5% after cryotherapy
- Less than 1% after Mohs micrographic surgery
Treatment options vary depending on the subtype, staging, and location of the basal skin cancer.
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What Are Basal And Squamous Cell Skin Cancers
Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are the most common types of skin cancer. They start in the top layer of skin , and are often related to sun exposure.
Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer cells. To learn more about cancer and how it starts and spreads, see What Is Cancer?
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Mohs Surgery Is Very Precise
During Mohs surgery, a dermatologic surgeon like Maher removes skin from a skin cancer site one stage at a time. First, a dermatologic surgeon outlines the lesion with ink to map the tumor. After a local anesthetic is injected, the doctor removes the thinnest possible layer of cancerous tissue. While the patient waits, that layer is processed in an onsite pathology lab. After processing, the dermatologic surgeon can then examine the entire margin of removed tissue under the microscope to determine whether any cancer remains. If skin cancer persists, the dermatologic surgeon can identify the precise location of the remaining cancerous cells. At that point, the patient returns to the operating room so that the surgeon can take another layerand the process is repeated until all cancerous tissue has been removed. Roughly 80 percent of patients only need a single layer of skin removed in order to remove all the cancerous tissue. This layer-by-layer approach keeps the incision as small as possible to reduce scarring and promote healing.
Because of the way we process these tissue samples, looking at 100 percent of the margin, we can know for certain when weve removed all of the cancer, Maher said.
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Skin Grafting And Reconstructive Surgery
After surgery to remove a large basal or squamous cell skin cancer, it may not be possible to stretch the nearby skin enough to stitch the edges of the wound together. In these cases, healthy skin can be taken from another part of the body and grafted over the wound to help it heal and to restore the appearance of the affected area. Other reconstructive surgical procedures, such as moving ‘flaps’ of nearby skin over the wound, can also be helpful in some cases.
How Successful Is Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment
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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Ask The Expert: Why Am I Having Surgery To Remove A Small Basal Cell Carcinoma
Although the nonmelanoma skin cancer basal cell carcinoma is rarely life-threatening, it can be troublesome, especially because 80 percent of BCCs develop on highly visible areas of the head and neck. These BCCs can have a substantial impact on a persons appearance and can even cause significant disfigurement if not treated appropriately in a timely manner.
The fact is, BCCs can appear much smaller than they are. On critical areas of the face such as the eyes, nose, ears and lips, they are more likely to grow irregularly and extensively under the skins surface, and the surgery will have a greater impact on appearance than might have been guessed. Even a small BCC on the face can be deceptively large and deep the extent of the cancer cannot be seen with the naked eye.
If such a BCC is treated nonsurgically , the chance of the cancer recurring is high. Unfortunately, treating a BCC that has returned is usually much more difficult than treating it precisely and completely when initially diagnosed.
BCCs on the trunk, arms and legs that cause concern are typically larger in size, but even a small BCC in these areas can have an irregular growth pattern under the skin if the initial biopsy shows the tumor is aggressive. In addition, a small BCC in an area previously treated with radiation may be much more aggressive than it appears on the surface. Again, treating such a tumor nonsurgically is likely to leave cancer cells behind.
About the Expert:
What Is Infiltrative Basal Cell Carcinoma
Infiltrative basal cell carcinoma is a variant of basal cell carcinoma, the most frequently diagnosed form of non-melanoma skin cancer. This specific type presents differently than other basal cell carcinomas, in that it forms in thin, small clusters, making it less apparent to spot. How dangerous is infiltrative basal cell carcinoma? Were exploring this and more in our overview.
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The Pursuit Of False Perfection
So imagine my alarm years later when, in June 2015, my dermatologist, Patricia Mauro, MD, at the University of North Carolina , did a biopsy of a suspicious spot on my nose and informed me that I had basal cell carcinoma. My head started spinning, and it took me a few seconds to process. Dr. Mauro immediately escorted me to the Mohs Center at the university hospital to meet Brad Merritt, MD, who would soon become my Mohs surgeon and skin sculptor.
My thoughts drifted back to summer days as a teen, spent at the pool swimming and smearing iodine and baby oil on my skinny frame to amplify the suns effects.
In his office, my thoughts drifted back to summer days as a teen, spent at the pool swimming and smearing iodine and baby oil over my skinny frame to amplify the suns effects. Later, when I was a cheerleader at UNC, having bronzed limbs helped to set off the school colors, Carolina blue and white. A week before football season, we practiced cheers at the beach, and Who has the darkest legs? became our mantra. At the Tri Delta house, sunny days meant climbing onto our third-story roof to work on our tans without our greased bodies sliding into the gutters. All of this, it turns out, was sheer insanity for someone of Scotch-Irish descent like myself, with skin especially vulnerable to sun damage and prone to developing skin cancers.
Symptoms Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
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.
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Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatments
Basal cell carcinoma can be treated in several different ways depending on the size of the cancer, its location, how long you have had the tumor and how much scarring is likely to occur with each treatment.
Options for treating basal cell carcinoma include:
- Cryosurgery, in which the lesion is frozen with liquid nitrogen
- Curettage, in which the skin cancer is removed by scraping the area with a sharp looped-edged instrument called a curette. The cancerous area is then treated with an electrocautery needle to destroy any remaining cancer cells and help control bleeding. This process may be repeated a few times with a deeper layer of tissue being scraped and cauterized each time to help destroy all of the cancer cells.
- Simple excision, in which the cancerous tissue and some surrounding healthy skin is cut out.
- Mohs surgery. This is a procedure in which your doctor removes the cancer layer by layer and examines each layer under the microscope until no abnormal cells remain.
- Radiation therapy, which uses high-energy beams such as X-rays to kill cancer cells. This is more common for deeper tumors.
If the cancer has spread to other parts of your body, or if it has come back after surgery, your doctor may prescribe certain medications. In some cases, your doctor may also recommend the use of a prescription cream for several weeks.
If you are diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, your dermatologist will discuss options with you to determine the best treatment plan.
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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Yes I Had S Basal Cell Carcinoma
The next day, the doctor called to tell me I had a basal cell carcinoma. I immediately did some research on the internet about this type of cancer. I found that it is a more common skin cancer. It seldom kills, but it can cause significant destruction and disfigurement of the surrounding tissues. These cancers affect 3 out of 10 Caucasiansand in 80% of these cases, they are found on the head and neck.
Most of these are caused by chronic sun exposure, and people who are fair skinned are more likely to develop it. These usually start out as an open sore, a red patch, a bump, or just a scar-like area. I had none of these signs. As I said, I had not even noticed the tiny little thing.
He told me to return the following day for a procedure called Mohs Micrographic Surgery. He fully explained the procedure and what I could expect. It would be performed in his office under local anesthesia. The Mohs procedure offers the highest cure rate for basal cell carcinomas.
What Does Early Stage Basal Cell Carcinoma Look Like
In the early stages, basal cell carcinoma comes up like small shiny bumps that look like fleshy moles or pimples. In some cases, they can look dark or with reddish, scaly skin . Additionally, they can also be skin growths that are hard and waxy. To have a clearer image of what they look like, please check our patients galleryhere.
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Basal Cell Carcinoma On Lower Eyelid Surgery And Recovery
May 10, 2017
When you hear that you have basal cell carcinoma on your eyelid it is scary. Let me jump to the end my story has a happy ending. Whew! A few weeks ago I shared the beginning of my story with basal cell carcinoma on the lower eyelid. Ill be honest, it was a scary procedure. And doubly scary because it was all performed on my eye! Spoiler alert everything turned out fine and my eye looks great. Unless youre uncomfortably close to my face, youd never know that anything was done to my lower eyelid, let alone that more than a third of it was removed. In case youre facing basal cell carcinoma on the lower eyelid, let me tell you all about my experience with the surgery and recovery.
About the time that I had my complicated appendectomy, I noticed a stye on my lower eyelid. I was busy healing from the apendectormy and so I didnt worry much about the stye since Ive had them before. A couple of months later, I had some unusual reactions associated with my stye that caused me to go to my family practice doctor. Two different doctors in the practice saw my stye and treated it as a normalstye. Finally I was referred me to an ophthalmologist. As soon as the ophthalmologist saw my stye, he suspected that it was basal cell carcinoma .
Related Services & Treatments
When detected early, most BCCs can be treated and cured. Prompt treatment is vital, because as the tumor grows, it becomes more dangerous and potentially disfiguring, requiring more extensive treatment. Certain rare, aggressive forms can be fatal if not treated promptly.
If youve been diagnosed with a small or early BCC, a number of effective treatments can usually be performed on an outpatient basis, using a local anesthetic with minimal pain.
Treatment options depend on how many lesions you have, where they are, your age and overall health. They include:
Advanced BCC is treated with oral medications. Vismodegib and sonidegib are FDA-approved for treating adults with BCCs that are large or have penetrated the skin deeply, spread to other parts of the body or resisted multiple treatments and recurred. Both medications are targeted drugs taken by mouth.
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