Basal Cell Skin Cancer
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It is due to the ultraviolet rays of sunlight. Although it can occur anywhere on your skin, it is most commonly seen on sun-exposed areas such as the face, neck, lateral arms, back, and legs. They may appear as flat or raised lesions, may be “pearly” or have a pearly-appearing border, or may have a rather indistinct border. They are usually not painful, itchy, or otherwise symptomatic. Although basal cell skin cancers rarely spread off the skin (metastasize), early treatment is advisable since these malignancies can spread locally and require greater intervention subsequently.
When basal cell carcinoma is clinically suspected, Dr. Lober will usually perform a biopsy to confirm this diagnosis. This biopsy either confirms the need to proceed with treatment when cancer is present and also avoids unnecessary treatment should the suspicious lesion not be cancerous. When present, basal cell skin cancers are usually treated by surgical removal and microscopic examination of the margins to assure that the cancer has been completely removed. In cases where surgery is not possible, advisable, or refused by the patient, other treatment options such as radiation are available.
After diagnosing and treating basal cell carcinoma, Dr. Lober always recommends sun avoidance, the use of protective clothing, and the use of a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater. This will help minimize the chance of your developing other lesions. If you have had one skin cancer, your lifetime risk of developing a second skin cancer is approximately 40%. Therefore, Dr. Lober also recommends follow-up visits to his office so that any future premalignant lesions or skin cancers can be detected early.