Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatments
Commonly called BCCs, basal cell carcinomas are the most common form of skin cancer, which in turn is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. Although they rarely become deadly, BCCs potentially can be disfiguring, and since they typically appear on the face, neck, hands, and forearms, treating them can often be important to maintaining the cosmetic appearance and functionality of many highly visible and sensitive areas. Dr. Adam J. Mamelak and Dr. Miriam L. Hanson, our experienced dermatologists, can help you diagnose and heal BCCs using the latest advances in skin cancer treatments.
Topical creams and ointments can be applied to less aggressive, superficial forms of BCCs. The two most commonly prescribed are 5-Fluorouracil and imiquimod, which are non-invasive and typically have minimal to no side effects.
Erivedge was approved by the FDA in 2012 for the treatment of aggressive forms of BCCs, which are typically rare. This method is generally recommended for patients who cannot undergo surgical procedures or traditional radiation therapy due to suppressed immune systems or large tumors.
There are a multitude of surgical options for patients with mild, moderate, or severe cases of BCCs. Some of the most common include:
- Cryosurgery – Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the skin cancer cells, destroying them. (However, this is often not recommended for large tumors or tumors of the face.)
- Curettage – A special tool called a curette excises the skin cells or tumor.
- Electrodesiccation – Typically utilized in combination with curettage, this therapy employs electrical heat to eliminate the BCCs, and treatment may need to be repeated.
- Surgical Excision – A conservative margin of normal skin will be taken around the tumor when it is surgically removed from the skin.
- Mohs Micrographic Surgery – One of the most advanced skin cancer treatments available, Mohs Surgery is designed to be highly effective while requiring as little tissue removal as possible, optimizing the cosmetic outcome.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery typically has a cure rate of over 99 percent, and the procedure offers qualified patients one of the best opportunities to completely remove skin cancer from an affected area. For more information about this state-of-the-art treatment, please check back next week for our blog post on Mohs Micrographic Surgery for BCCs.
If you have additional questions about treating basal cell carcinomas, or if you wish to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mamelak or Dr. Hanson, please contact us today.