Basal Cell Carcinoma and Treatments

Now that spring is right around the corner and temperatures are warming up, it’s understandable to want to spend more time outside and in the sun. If you are going to be spending extended time outside during peak sunlight hours, it is important to be aware of the effect that the sun’s damaging UV rays can have on your skin. Over time, these harmful rays can cause various types of skin cancers.

One such type of skin cancer is Basal Cell Carcinoma, or BCC, which is a mutation occurring in the skin’s basal cells. This form of skin cancer is one of the most common, albeit one of the least harmful and easiest forms to treat. BCCs affect over 3 million people each year in the US alone. Although they can appear in other areas as well, BCCs typically appear on areas of the skin that are regularly exposed to ultraviolet radiation such as the face, head and neck. BCCs can manifest as a lesion, growth or sore that refuses to heal.

It is important to understand some of the characteristics of a basal cell carcinoma so you can know when it might be time to contact your doctor.

Characteristics of basal cell carcinoma

  • Semi translucent bump
  • Tiny blood vessels visible
  • May bleed and scab but not heal completely
  • Dark lesion
  • Scaly patch with raised edges
  • Waxy in color
  • Defined border

Being diagnosed with a BCC can be concerning. Fortunately, there are a variety of safe and effective treatments for BCCs. Most commonly, basal cell carcinoma is removed completely using surgical methods such as excision or Mohs surgery. Surgical excision involves your doctor cutting out the cancerous tissue and the surrounding tissue to be sure that all of the cancer has been removed. Mohs surgery is a highly effective and cosmetically conscientious form of cancer surgery that removes only the affected tissue layer by layer while leaving behind as much healthy tissue as possible. This is an ideal treatment for BCCs found on the ears, hands, scalp or the delicate skin around the eyes or nose.

For all forms of skin cancer, early detection is key! BCCs are no exception. If you are at risk for certain types of skin cancers or have had a previous Basal Cell Carcinoma, it is important to schedule a yearly skin check with your provider. Your provider will be able to alert you to any knew growths or lesions that you should be concerned about. If you notice any areas that seem out of the ordinary, make a note for your provider. Be sure to note if the spot has changes in size, color or texture since your last check.

If you would like to schedule a skin check with us or have concerns about skin cancer or overall skin health, visit our site to book a consultation with us today! 

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Dr Pena

About The Author

Dr. Pena is a Board-Certified Medical Dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. Her mission is to educate the diverse patient populations she serves, and their communities, on the importance of skin care in decreasing the risk of skin cancer and minimizing the early signs of aging. She founded Skin Solutions Dermatology with numerous clinics in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Julia Pena, MD

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