If you do one thing to keep your skin health in check this summer season,…
Did you know that, with more than 3.6 million cases diagnosed each year, basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer found in the United States?
Even more concerning is that basal cell carcinoma cases are on the rise, and if not detected early, it can turn into a serious life-threatening skin condition. This risk is why it’s never been more important to learn as much as you can about this common skin cancer.
To help you get a better understanding of basal cell carcinoma, read our guide below. Our board-certified dermatologists cover what this skin cancer is, the warning signs and symptoms of basal cell carcinoma, top treatment options, and how to prevent skin cancer for optimal skin health.
What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
Basal cell carcinoma is a form of skin cancer that begins in the basal cells. These cells are found in the epidermis, which is the top layer of skin. When they become mutated due to cell DNA damage, the basal cells start to abnormally replicate and grow out of control. This abnormal growth is what causes cancer to form.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Warning Signs and Symptoms
Basal cell carcinoma has some key warning signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for. This includes:
- A small spot with an indentation in the center
- Scaly patch, especially near the ears
- Sore that either doesn’t heal or heals but keeps returning
- Round growth that can be pink, red, brown, tan, black, or skin-colored
- Scar-like skin that isn’t from an injury
This skin cancer typically shows up on areas of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, ears, chest, shoulders, and back.
Basal cell carcinoma, however, can show up anywhere in the body, so make sure to keep an eye out for warning signs and symptoms mentioned above when performing a monthly self-exam of your skin.
Top Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatments
At Brentwood Dermatology, our board-certified dermatologists have found that the majority of basal cell carcinomas can often be treated with a simple in-office procedure when detected early enough.
However, if left untreated, there’s a possibility that the basal cell carcinoma may go deeper into the skin, potentially becoming disfiguring and life-threatening.
The most effective basal cell carcinoma treatments we use at Brentwood Dermatology include:
- Curettage and Electrodesiccation – This procedure involves scraping off the cancer lesion with a curette and then burning the area to ensure all cancerous cells are destroyed.
- Cryotherapy – Uses an extremely cold liquid or solution (most often liquid nitrogen) to freeze off the basal cell carcinoma and remove it from the skin.
- Surgical Excision – Removes the basal cell carcinoma by surgically cutting out the affected area, as well as what’s known as the “margin” to make sure all cancerous cells are eliminated.
- Mohs Surgery – A highly specialized procedure that involves going into the skin layer by layer and removing the cancerous cells with extreme precision. Mohs surgery aims to eliminate all cancer while preserving as much healthy skin as possible.
To learn more about the different types of skin cancer treatments we use at Brentwood Dermatology, click here to read our blog on nine skin cancer treatments you should know.
How to Prevent Basal Cell Carcinoma
Fortunately, preventing and reducing your risk of developing skin cancer doesn’t have to be complicated or tedious! All it takes is just a few preventive steps that you can seamlessly add to your daily routine.
- Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, especially to frequently exposed areas, such as the face, ears, neck, shoulders, arms, and back of hands.
- Avoid being outside during peak sun hours, which is typically 10 am to 4 pm.
- Never (and we truly mean never!) use a tanning bed.
- Wear UPF clothing when you are outdoors. (This is especially important for those who work outside in the sun on a daily basis.)
- Perform monthly self-exams of your skin to keep an eye out for any changes, such as a new mole or suspicious spot, or a mole that has evolved.
Professional Skin Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment at Brentwood Dermatology
If you’ve noticed a suspicious spot or an atypical mole, or simply would like to schedule your annual skin cancer screening, contact Brentwood Dermatology!
Our board-certified dermatologists are here to help you with professional skin cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment.
If you’re interested in learning more about basal cell carcinoma or need to schedule your annual skin cancer screening, the expert team of board-certified dermatologists at Brentwood Dermatology are here to help. Schedule an appointment online or give us a call today at 615-377-3448!