Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
WHAT PURPOSE DOES MY SKIN SERVE?
Did you know that your skin is the largest organ on your entire body? It covers and protects all internal organs, serving as a barrier against germs and bacteria. Your skin also prevents your body from losing too much water (among other fluids) as well as helps control your body temperature. Your skin also protects the rest of your body from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays all while helping your body produce vitamin D.
HOW COMMON IS BASAL CELL CARCINOMA SKIN CANCER?
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. More than 2 million cases of BCC skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. This type of skin cancer typically forms on areas of skin that get frequent sun exposure -such as on the head or face, neck, and back of your hands.
WHAT IS BASAL CELL CARCINOMA (BCC)?
Often referred to as BBCs – Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed and frequently occurring type of skin cancer. BCCs are recognized as abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s basal cells. BCCs are usually caused by prolonged sun exposure. It often shows on skin as open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars.
BCCs normally don’t spread. There have been exceedingly rare cases where BCCs spread to other parts of the body and become life-threatening. While BCCs may be very common, it should not be taken lightly. BCCs can be disfiguring if not treated promptly.
HOW IS IT TREATED?
Cryosurgery (cryotherapy): With this treatment method, the dermatologist applies liquid nitrogen to the cancerous tumor to freeze and kill the cancer cells. This is typically repeated a few times during one office visit. After the dead area of skin thaws, it will normally swell, blister and then crust over. Fluid may drain from the wound for some time. On average it takes approximately 1-2 months to heal, leaving a scar. The healed and treated area may appear a bit discolored after treatment.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT): This treatment involves a unique liquid drug that is applied onto the skin. The drug gathers inside the tumor cells over a period of several hours or days. There it is converted into a different chemical making the cancerous cells very sensitive to certain types of light. Next a specific light source is focused on the tumor(s). Since the tumor’s cells have now become weakened and sensitive to this light, the cancerous cells are killed.
Mohs surgery: In this procedure, the skin is removed in very thin layers. Each layer is examined under a microscope for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, the surgeon removes another thin layer of skin. The operation continues and layers are continuously removed until a layer shows no signs of cancer. This method allows the surgeon to remove the cancer while saving a majority of surrounding healthy skin.
Electron Beam Radiation: Electron beam radiation uses a beam of electrons that only penetrate the first major layers skin. Radiation is used on larger tumors or tumors located on areas of the skin that may be hard to reach or treat with surgery. In some cases, radiation is used as a main treatment option instead of surgery. Radiation therapy is highly beneficial for patients who are ineligible for surgery due to poor general health.