Finding Relief from Skin Cancer

About one in five people will get basal cell carcinoma in their lifetime. This issue usually begins as a series of small red, pink, or shiny bumps on the skin that can sometimes look like flat pink patches. In some cases, they can also be rough or scaly to the touch, and on occasion, they may bleed or form scabs that never completely heal. They are typically very slow growing and can take years to cause a problem, but are most easily addressed when they’re caught as early as possible. If you think you might be dealing with basal cell carcinoma, we recommend coming in for a screening and exploring your treatment options here at Certified Dermatology. Take a look at our locations page and reach out to the Certified Dermatology office that’s most convenient for you to set up your initial appointment.

When to Consider Treatment

Basal cell carcinoma skin cancer is not fatal, so you will not die from this type of skin cancer. However, that does not mean that you should neglect the presence of basal cell carcinoma or avoid seeking treatment as early as possible. Basal cell carcinoma can grow over time and eventually even become quite disfiguring. Early detection and early intervention are the keys to a satisfactory outcome, and you can rest assured that the experienced team at Certified Dermatology has the knowledge and skill required to help you enjoy healthy skin and total peace of mind.

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Risk Factors for Basal Cell Carcinoma

Risk factors for basal cell carcinoma include chronic sun exposure, sunburns, fair skin, and genetics. Our cumulative lifetime exposure to the sun puts us at greater risk of developing skin cancer, and the kind of chronic sun exposure that leads to the development of basal cell carcinoma typically begins during childhood. People who grew up at the beach, playing sports outdoors, or working outside in the sun are more susceptible.

Historically, basal cell carcinoma affects people more frequently as they grew older. While this continues to be true, we are also seeing many younger people diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. This is primarily due to an upwell in the use of indoor tanning beds, combined with a steady depletion of the ozone layer that is normally supposed to function in a way that keeps us safe from some of the sun’s more harmful rays.

Keeping Yourself Protected

The best protection against basal cell carcinoma is education! Wearing sunscreen, protecting your little ones, avoiding overuse of indoor tanning beds, and being as careful as possible when playing or working outdoors are some of the best defenses against basal cell carcinoma. Some other guidelines include: 

  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher at least 20 to 30 minutes before you spend time in the sun. 
  • Re-apply your sunscreen every 60 to 90 minutes while enjoying the outdoors.
  • Avoid the sun’s peak hours, between 10 am and 2 pm.
  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Carefully avoid sunburns.
  • Avoid indoor tanning beds.
  • Examine your skin once a month for new or changing spots.
  • Visit Certified Dermatology for a yearly skin examination to ensure your skin is in good health.

How Is Basal Cell Carcinoma Treated?

Basal cell carcinoma is totally curable when the appropriate treatments are utilized. The optimal treatment option will typically depend upon the size and location of your basal cell carcinoma. When you visit Certified Dermatology for your consultation, we’ll help you explore your treatment options and land on the procedure that’s right for you.

Excisional Surgery

Most basal cell carcinomas are best treated with complete surgical excision. The entire skin cancer—plus a small margin of healthy tissue—will be removed, and the surgical defect will then be stitched closed. This procedure can be performed in our inviting office. Excision surgery will leave a small surgical scar behind, but many consider this a small price to pay to be cancer-free.

MOHS Micrographic Surgery

This technique is used for larger instances of skin cancer or lesions in tissue-sensitive areas like the scalp, face, ears, nose, hands, shins, feet, and toes). The cancer will be removed in layers and microscopically examined to ensure all cancer cells are completely removed. Once this is completed, the area can then be stitched closed. This procedure has one of the highest cure rates for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma.

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Electrodesiccation and Curettage

A curettage procedure is ideal for superficial skin cancers and smaller lesions on preferred parts of the body. This technique utilizes a local numbing agent to ensure your comfort before the skin cancer is burned with an electric needle and scraped away. Your treatment site will heal nicely, and this treatment enjoys impressive cure rates. 

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Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is better known as freezing, a treatment method that can be used for more superficial and smaller instances of skin cancer. The cancerous tissues will be frozen with liquid nitrogen, creating a blister on the skin and causing the cancer cells to fall off as it heals. Cure rates are very high when this procedure is performed properly.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation can often be ideal for lesions that are difficult to treat surgically or on patients that are not good surgical candidates. This treatment will be performed at a radiation facility, with sessions spread out over a four- to six-week period, with treatments up to five days a week. Cure rates are quite high when the treatment is followed exactly as recommended by your Radiation Oncologist.

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