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Philadelphia and Mainline Center of Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery

Written by Dr. Ringpfeil

Basal Cell Cancer

Basal Cell Cancer - Overview

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common malignant skin tumor. It is a painless, slow-growing form of non-melanoma skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma initiates in the top layer of the skin called the epidermis. Increased risk of disease is associated with light-colored skin, blue or green eyes, blond or red hair and over-exposure to UV rays, x-rays or other forms of radiation. Basal cell carcinoma almost never spreads inside the body. But, if left untreated, it may grow into surrounding areas and nearby tissues and bone. The majority of these cancers occur on areas of skin that are regularly exposed to sunlight or other ultraviolet radiation.

Diagnosis

Basal cell carcinoma can be only slightly different than normal skin. The cancer may appear as bump or growth that is pearly or waxy, white or light pink, flesh-colored or brown. In some cases the skin may be just slightly raised or even flat. A new skin growth that bleeds easily or does not heal well may be first signs of basal cell carcinoma. Diagnosis requires a complete medical history and evaluation of the affected area of skin (size, shape, color, and texture of any suspicious areas), and often includes biopsy for examination by a pathologist.

Management

Complete removal of a basal cell cancer is the most important primary step. The rate of basal cell skin cancer locally returning is about 1-10% depending on the form of treatment. Untreated, basal cell cancer can spread to nearby tissues or structures, causing damage. This is most worrisome around the nose, eyes, and ears. Basal cell carcinoma rarely spreads to other parts of the body. However, occurrence of a basal cancer can signal that you had sufficient exposure to radiation over your lifetime making it more likely to grow additional basal cell carcinomas. Monthly self-examination of your skin is a critical process to notice any suspicious skin changes. Meticulous follow-up with your doctor twice a year is highly recommended.

Treatment and Medication

A number of therapies exist for treating basal cell carcinoma. The most appropriate one depends on the type, location and severity of the tumor. The most common basal cell carcinoma treatments are surgical excision including Mohs' surgery where necessary, electrodessication and curettage, freezing, laser surgery and topical treatments such as Tazarotene (Tazorac), imiquimod (Aldara) and 5-fluorouracil. Prescription medications require careful supervision for severe skin irritation as well as systemic side effects.

Coping

Primary aspects of coping with basal cell carcinoma relate to restrictions to sun exposure (leisure time and outdoor work) as further sun exposure will increase your chance to form basal cell carcinoma elsewhere on your exposed skin. In addition, one must adjust to the change in skin from the primary cancer as well as from the scar after removal of it. Depending on the severity, an important psychological aspect may be the sense of illness (cancer). Emotional reactions include worry, fear, irritation, doubt, guilt, and anxiety. The ideal approach to the disease is to understand the causes and implement preventative behavioral measures.

Prevention

The optimal way to prevent most basal cell carcinomas is to reduce your exposure to natural or artificial sunlight. Protect your skin by wearing a hat, long-sleeved shirts, long skirts, or pants. Always use sunscreen. Apply high-quality sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB light. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside, and reapply it at least every 2 hours. Use sunscreen on exposed areas all year round.

How can we help you?

SKIN

# of surveys: 3863
Last updated: 3/31/2021 3:06 PM

PATIENT RATINGS

Would you recommend us?

definitely
93.1%
probably
6.16%
maybe
0.58%
not likely
0.08%
no
0.02%

Compare our service to other similar practices

excellent
87.9%
very good
10.1%
good
1.8%
poor
0.06%
very poor
0%

Overall doctor performance

excellent
94.2%
very good
4.89%
good
0.80%
poor
0.03%
very poor
0%

The doctor listened to you attentively

excellent
93.9%
very good
4.97%
good
1.05%
poor
0.05%
very poor
0%

The doctor took time to answer your questions

excellent
94.0%
very good
4.66%
good
1.27%
poor
0.02%
very poor
0%

The doctor explained treatment options

excellent
94.3%
very good
4.16%
good
1.25%
poor
0.14%
very poor
0.02%

The doctor explained treatment options

excellent
92.0%
very good
5.69%
good
2.18%
poor
0.11%
very poor
0.0%

Front desk performance

excellent
85.6%
very good
10.2%
good
3.66%
poor
0.31%
very poor
0.08%

Aesthetician performance

excellent
88.6%
very good
7.61%
good
3.39%
poor
0.24%
very poor
0.08%

Office comfort

excellent
90.9%
very good
6.93%
good
2.08%
poor
0.05%
very poor
0.05%

Parking

excellent
66.4%
very good
14.4%
good
15.7%
poor
2.49%
very poor
0.9%

Friendliness of the staff during appointment

excellent
90.9%
very good
7.23%
good
1.85%
poor
0.05%
very poor
0%

What WE DID WELL

(Answers:674)

friendly, laid-back style yet factual and to-the-point feedback

#12020-06-14

Everyone staff, doctor and assistant, were very nice and helpful.

#22020-07-27

I was impressed that the doctor really listened to me and that she thoroughly answered my questions. Instead of telling me not to worry about things, she explained the nature of the condition and why it wasn't a concern. She also thoroughly explained my treatment options so I could make an informed decision.

#32020-12-29

Everyone was lovely and the office looks beautiful.

#42020-12-19

I particularly like the assertiveness that the office provided. Being in and out is a best for me.

#52020-09-07

I am extremely impressed. Felt comfortable and confident in the doctor's treatments. the staff was very professional yet kind and very helpful. The doctor's knowledge of medical condition

#62021-03-27

The doctor was very thorough.

#72020-10-17

The atmosphere was pleasent and during appointment, didnt feel judged about skin.

#82020-10-05

Pretty, Friendly Ladies up front!

#92011-01-13 11:13:22

the swiftness and kindness of the staff, felt very comfortable

#102020-12-19

What can we do better?

(answers:373)

I have a suggestion: I noticed that two of the lovely rugs pose hazards to patients using walkers or who may have other mobility issues. The large rug placed at an angle and the narrow rug placed in front of the reception desk leave no room for these individuals to safely manuveur around the reception area and are likely to contribute to fall risks. I would suggest leaving these areas clear.

#12010-10-04 12:14:56

this is my first time so will let you know as time progresses

#22010-11-02 11:02:24

Service was fantastic. No suggestions.

#32011-11-29 13:58:45

Just do the same good job

#42021-03-16

I have no suggestions. I am very pleased with ever aspect of my care

#52010-10-18 16:25:51

Be on time for our appointments

#62011-11-16 13:56:14

This visit was great.

#72021-02-06

receptioist is a little stiff and unwelcoming, but attentive proffessional.

#82021-02-04

I have an unusual challenge getting to and from the office. Your practice is doing a great job; I will deal with the transportation issues.

#92011-03-21 10:03:43

I was a bit embarressed by not knowing more information regarding my parents history. I believe it would have been better handled if I were asked to please get more info and then let the dr's office know.

#102020-11-22
Customer Rating : 4.5

Based on 178 ratings
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