Basal cell carcinoma treatment may range from use of lasers to topical medications. Basal skin cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It is the one least likely to spread and one which can be easily treated. Unlike other skin cancers, basal cell cancer rarely spreads but can invade the local tissues. Even when removed, basal cell cancers have a tendency to recur and thus follow up is required.
Most people have no idea they have a basal cell cancer because these cancers do not cause symptoms. Basal cell cancer may appear as a white or pearly bump on the face, nose or ears. Often this bump may be depressed in the center, bleed and form a crust along the edges. In others basal cell may appear as flat brown skin patch usually on the back, upper arms and chest. If the skin bump bleeds, does not disappear or is unusual in appearance it is recommended that one get the lesion checked out by a doctor. A biopsy is the only way to confirm that the skin growth is a cancer.
Prolonged exposure to the sun.
Some heavy metals like arsenic .
Individuals who are on long term immunosuppressive drugs to prevent transplant rejection are prone to basal cell cancers
rare genetic disorders which increase risk of basal cell cancer
In general individuals with fair skin and those who have had a prolonged exposure to sun since childhood are at the highest risk for basal cell cancer.
There are various treatments for basal cell carcinoma skin.
Electrodessication and curettage is simply burning the lesion with a heat source and scrapping it off. It is often used to remove basal cell cancer from the back, legs and arms.
Basal cell carcinoma surgery involves removal of lesions on the face and arms. Following basal cell carcinoma surgery some type of skin reconstruction is usually required.
Freezing the tumor with liquid nitrogen does work for small cancers but repeated treatments are required for many weeks.
Mohs’s surgery is effective for large deep lesions on the face. In this procedure the lesion is scraped off in layers until no more abnormal cells are seen. This limits unnecessary removal of normal skin tissues. However, the procedure does require expertise, is time consuming and costly.
Laser can be used to vaporize basal cell cancer; the lasers are painful and are useful for only superficial cancers.
Topical medications have been developed which may work for small basal cell carcinoma skin. Dugs like tazarotene and Aldara require careful supervision because both can cause potent side effects.
Basal skin cell carcinoma is best prevented and this means avoiding the midday sun. If you go out, wear a sunscreen all year round. Unlike other cancers, most basal cell carcinoma treatment is not associated with systemic side effects.