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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. Cancer may appear as a 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 the first sign 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 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, the occurrence of basal cancer can signal that you had sufficient exposure to radiation throughout your life, 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, electrodesiccation 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 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: 3977
Last updated: 11/10/2022 8:45 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)

I felt at ease and well informed.

#12011-01-27 16:47:12

The doctor's exam was thorough and gentle. The music was pleasant and soothing.

#22022-11-20

Everything even your choice of music.

#32022-01-18

colors and plants

#42010-12-13 11:23:03

Friendly, clean, and helpful.

#52010-11-29 14:01:40

Staff professionalism,crisp action,friendly engagement,and a well designed entry area.

#62011-09-21 17:08:06

Explanation by both DR. and assistant Thanks!

#72022-03-16

I admired the advanced technology used by the office. I am all for the use of technology.

#82011-05-05 10:59:36

How great everyone treats you here!

#92022-01-01

everything

#102022-02-25

What can we do better?

(answers:373)

NOPE; COULD NOT IMPROVE ON YOUR ARTISTRY IN HEALING ATMOSPHERE AND MEDICAL ATTENTIVENESS.

#12022-01-24

Do no change

#22010-08-19 14:48:13

Have some toys or children books in the waiting room

#32022-09-02

The service was excellent as is.

#42022-11-19

Cannot think of anyway to improve things, unless you want to serve hot tea and cappachino!

#52011-02-22 11:25:39

Nothing missing.

#62022-10-07

I was served perfectly

#72011-02-14 08:46:29

keep on on trying to do your best

#82022-06-29

shorter wait time for new patient appointment.

#92022-10-12

The lock on the door of the unisex bathroom is a little challenging in that you don't know whether it is locked or not. This was a little unnerving.

#102010-10-28 10:21:25

Customer Rating : 4.6

Based on 351 ratings
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