Basal cell skin cancer (carcinoma) is a type of skin cancer. It most often appears on areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun. These areas include the head, face, neck, back, chest, or shoulders. The nose is the most common site.
This cancer grows slowly and does not usually spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body. It is almost always cured when it is found early and treated.
This skin cancer is usually caused by too much sun. Using tanning beds or sunlamps can also cause it.
Signs of basal cell carcinoma include:
Your doctor will want to remove all of the cancer. There are several ways to remove it. It depends on how big it is, where it is on your body, and your age and overall health. Treatment options include:
Other treatment options include chemotherapy cream and photodynamic therapy.
If your doctor removes the cancer, he or she will send it to a lab. The lab makes sure it is a basal cell cancer and that it all was removed. If cancer is still there, you may need more treatment.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
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