Basal-cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common cancer in the United States. It rarely spreads to other parts of the body (metastasizes). However, because it can cause significant destruction and disfigurement by invading surrounding tissues, it is still considered malignant.
The head and neck are the most common locations, but any sun-exposed areas of the body are at risk. In the United States, about 3 in 10 Caucasians may develop a basal-cell cancer within their lifetimes.
A basal cell carcinoma has several typical appearances. The most common type is a nodular basal cell carcinoma, which looks pearly or translucent, and may have visible blood vessels throughout. Other types include a sore that does not heal, or a consistently scaly patch. These lesions should be diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist. Treatment is easily achieved by a quick procedure called electrodessication and curettage, or by a complete surgical excision with stitches which is performed right in our office. Occasionally a patient may be referred for a specialized skin cancer surgery called Mohs’ surgery. After the BCC is treated, routine follow-ups and continued sunscreen application are extremely important.