Basal Cell Carcinoma

What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

A Slowly Growing Skin Colored Wound That Does Not Heal

Basal Cell Carcinoma does not fit a prescribed set of symptoms, as it can appear on any skin surface and there are several dozen possible growth patterns; however, it nearly always makes its initial appearance as a pink, pigmented, or skin-colored plaque or nodule. This spot or wound typically grows slowly and may eventually bleed or form ulcers. If you notice any unusual changes in the color or texture of your skin that may be a sign of basal cell carcinoma, contact Allegheny Advanced Dermatology Center for an evaluation.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Prevention

The most common risk factor for developing basal cell carcinoma is a history of sunburn. There may also be a genetic component involved in developing this condition. We recommend generous application of broad spectrum sunscreens and complete avoidance of mid-day sun exposure to help prevent the development of basal cell carcinoma and a wide range of other potentially devastating skin issues. Precautions should be taken year-round.

Types of Potentially Fatal Basal Cell Carcinoma

At Allegheny Advanced Dermatology Center, we biopsy, diagnose, and treat basal cell carcinoma (BCC) both surgically and non-surgically, as indicated. Many types of BCC exist, and several sub-types have the potential to grow aggressively and metastasize to the lymph nodes. BCC can be superficial, nodular, morphoeic, besosquamous (mixed basal and squamous cell carcinoma), exhibit as a fibroepithelial tumor of Pinkus, and can affect the face, nose, eyelids, ear, limbs, trunk, and other areas. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential. Although many forms develop slowly, they can infiltrate tissues deep beneath the skin without any obvious symptoms. They are known to reoccur spontaneously and may be fatal.

Effective Treatment Options for Basal Cell Carcinoma

Treatment for basal cell carcinoma is personalized according to the size and degree of the lesion(s), the sub-type involved, the location, and many other factors. Some highly effective, and state-of the-art options for elimination and treatment of basal cell carcinoma include:

Excision Biopsy: The entire lesion (as well as a border of normal skin) is removed and the skin is closed. Further surgery may be required if the tumor is found to have exceeded the margin, excessive depth, or an otherwise incomplete excision, etc.

Mohs Micrographically Controlled Excision: Often utilized for sensitive areas near the eyes and on the face, a microscope is used to visualize each layer during removal to target lesions with a higher degree of precision than standard excision biopsy.

Superficial Skin Surgery Options: Ideal for small, surface lesions, the affected area may be shaved, electrocauterized, or curettage may be used. Healing is typically spontaneous with regular care of the surgical site.

Cryotherapy: Liquid nitrogen is applied to freeze and inactivate the growth of small tumors on the trunk and limbs.

Photodynamic Therapy: A photosensitive chemical is applied to the area, which is then exposed to light. An inflammatory reaction occurs within days and the cosmetic results are typically exceptional with this procedure.

Imiquimod Cream: This immune response modification medication is applied regularly for up to four months to produce an inflammatory reaction with minimal scarring.

Treatments may be combined, and oral medications may also be prescribed. If prompt treatments begin when lesions are small, many BCCs may be cured. Unfortunately, recurrence is likely and a diagnosis of BCC may indicate a higher prevalence for other skin cancers, such as melanoma. Regular self examinations, accompanied by ongoing examinations by a licensed and certified healthcare professional, are critical.

Contact Allegheny Advanced Dermatology Center to schedule an appointment. For professional medical treatment of basal cell carcinoma, call (814) 944-7109.