Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinomas are the most common type of skin cancer. Although everyone is at risk to developing a basal-cell tumor, approximately 30% of the Caucasian population in the United States will have a basal-cell in their lifetime. The primary cause of these carcinomas is sun-exposure. Basal-cells are best recognized as a bump with a pearly appearance, however may also be seen as a red patch. Patients often mistakenly recognize the early stages of a basal cell as a pimple.
While basal cells are unlikely to be lethal, they will continue to grow when left untreated. Due to their ability to continuously grow and affect the areas around them, they are considered malignant and must be treated. Dr. Mejia and Ashley always prefer their patients to know all of the options to treat these tumors so that patients can both understand and appropriately choose the treatment that works best for them.
When caught early, basal cells are considered superficial, and can be removed quickly and without the use of sutures through the technique of electrodessication and curettage, or ED&C. This technique will lead to the patient having a circular scar that is dependent on the size of the carcinoma.
The next option is to treat the tumor is with an excision. This is a surgical procedure that will involve sutures and will lead to a line scar. Dr. Mejia and Ashley want to emphasize that the line scar will be 4-5 times the size of the basal-cell in order to ensure the best medical and cosmetic result.
When basal cells are present on the face or neck, our practice highly recommends the Mohs procedure. This will allow for the absolute best cosmetic result and will ensure that the basal-cell is completely removed.
In some cases, radiation therapy is the preferred treatment option. Radiation therapy uses X-rays to destroy cancer cells. Treating a skin cancer with this method often requires at least 15 treatments in order to gradually destroy the entire tumor.
Although sun-damage occurs throughout a lifetime, it’s not too late!! Our practice advocates an active lifestyle and we here at Jupiter Dermatology & Hair Restoration love the sun, however we can’t emphasize the power of sun block enough. Have fun, enjoy the sun, but please wear a sun block that is at least SPF 30.