Basal Cell Cancer
Do you feel uncomfortable by the appearance any unknown appearance on your skin? Are you worried that it just might be cancerous? Dr. Steve Musick, and his team of highly skilled dermatology professionals are here to help you. We treat all ages of patients in the Swansea, IL and metropolitan St. Louis area
Skin cancer is the most common form of human cancers, affecting more than one million Americans every year. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives. Skin cancers are generally curable if caught early. However, people who have had skin cancer are at a higher risk of developing a new skin cancer, which is why regular self-examination and doctor visits are imperative.
The vast majority of skin cancers are composed of three different types: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
This is the most common form of skin cancer. Basal cells reside in the deepest layer of the epidermis, along with hair follicles and sweat ducts. When a person is overexposed to UVB radiation, it damages the body’s natural repair system, which causes basal cell carcinomas to grow. These tend to be slow-growing tumors and rarely metastasize (spread). Basal cell carcinomas can present in a number of different ways:
- Raised pink or pearly white bump with a pearly edge and small, visible blood vessels
- Pigmented bumps that look like moles with a pearly edge
- A sore that continuously heals and re-opens
- Flat scaly scar with a waxy appearance and blurred edges
Despite the different appearances of the cancer, they all tend to bleed with little or no cause. Eighty-five percent of basal cell carcinomas occur on the face and neck since these are areas that are most exposed to the sun.
Risk factors for basal cell carcinoma include having fair skin, sun exposure, age (most skin cancers occur after age 50), exposure to ultraviolet radiation (as in tanning beds) and therapeutic radiation given to treat an unrelated health issue.
Diagnosing basal cell carcinoma requires a biopsy — either excisional, where the entire tumor is removed along with some of the surrounding tissue, or incisional, where only a part of the tumor is removed.
Treatments for basal cell carcinoma include:
- Curettage and Desiccation — The preferred method of dermatologists, this treatment involves using a small metal instrument (called a curette) to scrape out the tumor along with an application of an electric current into the tissue to kill off any remaining cancer cells.
- Mohs Micrographic Surgery — The preferred method for large tumors, Mohs Micrographic Surgery combines removal of cancerous tissue with microscopic review while the surgery takes place. By mapping the diseased tissue layer by layer, less healthy skin is damaged when removing the tumor.
- Prescription Medicated Creams — These creams can be applied at home. They stimulate the body’s natural immune system over the course of weeks.
- Radiation Therapy — Radiation therapy is used for difficult-to-treat tumors, either because of their location, severity or persistence.
- Surgical Excision — In this treatment the tumor is surgically removed and stitched up.
Dr. Steve Musick is a Board-Certified Dermatologist by The American Board of Dermatology and treats all types of skin conditions in the Swansea, IL and St. Louis metropolitan area. There are numerous treatments that Dr. Musick and his team can perform, and it is best to make an appointment for proper evaluation of any skin condition to rule out any possibility of skin cancer.
To make an appointment, call Musick Dermatology in Swansea, IL today at 618-628-2588. We accept most health insurance programs.