Naples Dermatology PA
4085 Tamiami Trail North Suite B203, Naples. FL, 34103
Dr. Scott A. Ross MD
Board Certified Dermatologist
Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCCs) are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s basal cells, which line the deepest layer of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). BCCs often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars and are usually caused by chronic sun exposure.
BCC almost never spread (metastasizes) beyond the original tumor site. However, if left untreated it can be disfiguring and lead to infection and loss of vital structures.
BCC is the most frequently occurring form of cancer with more than 4 million cases of basal cell carcinoma diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
Almost all BCCs occur on parts of the body excessively exposed to the sun — especially the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders, and back. It is not possible to pinpoint a precise, single cause for a specific tumor. People who are at highest risk have fair skin, blond or red hair, and blue, green, or grey eyes. The tendency to develop BCC may also be inherited. Those most often affected are older people, but as the number of new cases has increased sharply each year in the last few decades, the average age of patients at onset has steadily decreased.
Men with BCC have outnumbered women with the disease, but more women are getting BCCs than in the past. Workers in occupations that require long hours outdoors and people who spend their leisure time in the sun (golfing, fishing, tennis) are particularly susceptible.
People who have had one BCC are at risk for developing others over the years, either in the same area or elsewhere on the body. Therefore, regular visits to a dermatologist should be routine so that not only the site(s) previously treated, but the entire skin surface can be examined.
After the physician’s examination, the diagnosis of BCC is confirmed with a biopsy. In this procedure, the skin is first numbed with local anesthesia. A sample of the tissue is then removed and sent to be examined under a microscope in the laboratory to seek a definitive diagnosis. If tumor cells are present, treatment is required. There are several effective methods for eliminating BCC. Choice of treatment is based on the type, size, location, and depth of penetration of the tumor, the patient’s age and general health, and the likely outcome to his or her appearance.
Treatment can almost always be performed on an outpatient basis. Treatment options include curettage and electrodesiccation (scraping and burning), topical chemotherapy, simple excision, Mohs Micrographic surgery or radiation therapy.