What is Basal Cell Cancer?
Date: Apr 2016
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a form of non-melanoma skin cancer that affects the outer layer of your skin, often in a place that has been frequently exposed to the sun. A BCC is much less likely to spread than a melanoma, but the tumour will usually still need to be removed, just in case. There is still a very small chance that a non-melanoma skin cancer will spread and the BCC could be very disfiguring if it is left to grow. Basal cell carcinoma treatment is usually very successful, but the method used will depend on the size and location of the tumour, as well as your health.
Surgical Excision of BCC
Surgery is the most common option for basal cell carcinoma treatment
. The growth is simply cut out, along with a border to healthy skin. It will be tested in the lab to ensure that the whole tumour has been removed. If the BCC was in a very visible location, your doctor may suggest a skin graft to help the surgical wound heal.
Alternative Treatments for BCC
Other kinds of basal cell carcinoma treatment may be recommended by your dermatologist if the BCC is very small or if there is a reason why you can’t have surgery:
Curettage and Electrocautery: after the growth is scraped off, the wound is cauterised with an electrical needle. Several treatments may be needed to remove it entirely.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery: the tumour is surgically removed a little at a time, minimising the amount of tissue removed from delicate areas. Each section is tested for cancer cells until no more are found.
Phototherapy: a special cream is applied to make the BCC cells sensitive to light. When a strong light is shone on the growth, the cancer cells are killed.
Chemotherapy: topical chemotherapy can kill the cancer cells without causing the same side effects as systemic chemotherapy.
Imiquimod Cream: medication that encourages your immune system to attack and destroy the tumour.
Cryotherapy: the tumour is frozen to kill the cells.
Radiotherapy: a small dose of radiation kills the cells to destroy the tumour.