Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Not all cancer is the same. Some are fast-moving and deadly. At the opposite end of the spectrum is basal cell carcinoma. This skin cancer develops slowly and is not life-threatening. It may be disfiguring, however, if you don’t have it treated. The earlier you get treatment from an expert dermatologist at a practice like the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, NY, the more likely you’ll get rid of the cancer completely. Also, get instructions for preventing the disease; call for an evaluation.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. More than four million cases are reported in the Unites States every year. This type of cancer is also one of the most curable and causes the least amount of damage, especially when you catch it early.

One issue with diagnosing basal cell carcinoma is that its symptoms vary from person to person. Another issue is that its symptoms resemble the symptoms of other skin conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema. In general, look for symptoms on your skin that include:

  • Open sores
  • Red patches
  • Pink growths
  • Shiny bumps or nodules
  • Raised scars or growths
  • Flat white, yellow or waxy-colored scars
  • Itching or bleeding
  • Oozing from a suspected area that forms a crust when it dries

If you notice unusual changes on your skin, consult your dermatologist at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, NY immediately. Early detection of basal cell carcinoma makes treatment much easier and may even prevent surgery.

How to Prevent Basal Cell Carcinoma

With this form of cancer, most of the cancerous cells appear on your face. Areas on your ears, neck, back, chest, arms and legs are sometimes affected. If your unprotected skin is often exposed to the harmful UV rays of the sun, you’re more likely to get basal cell carcinoma.

In addition to having doctors and specialists who cover nearly every medical specialty, Medex Diagnostics and Treatment Center also specializes in geriatric care, providing services for seniors including physical and rehabilitation.

The best way to protect yourself is to avoid direct sunlight on your skin. Always use high-SPF sunscreen and wear sun-filtering clothes. Opt for a hat with a wide brim whenever possible to hide your face from the powerful sun’s rays. UV-blocking sunglasses help, too.

If you have fair skin, you need to take extra care when you’re out in the sun. Be especially careful if you’re a man over 50 with a history of skin cancer. It’s also recommended that you avoid tanning beds.

Seek Treatment for Unusual Skin Changes

Just because this skin cancer isn’t life-threatening, that’s no excuse to ignore it. If you don’t get medical care early, basal cell carcinoma can become aggressive, injuring the nerves, blood vessels, skin tissue and even the underlying bone structure. Eventually, the cancer spreads so severely that you may end up being disfigured.

The good news is that, from the moment it appears on your skin, the cancer grows and spreads very slowly. That gives you ample time to get yourself checked by a Queens dermatologist. At Medex, your dermatologist has access to the latest treatments, so you’re in knowledgeable hands when you come in for diagnosis and treatment.

Treating the Cancer Cells

When your doctor finds a suspicious spot on your skin during an examination, the first step most likely is to collect a biopsy or tissue sample. At the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center, your dermatologist numbs the area before removing all or some of the suspicious cells to send to a lab. This is the simplest way to diagnose if your cells are cancerous.

If the pathology report for the skin biopsy comes back negative, the spot may have been just a mole or some other benign growth. If the test is positive, your dermatologist discusses the treatment option that best serves your case. Your doctor may recommend a treatment based on the location of the cancer. Minimally invasive techniques include:

  • A surgical excision to cut the cancer cells out
  • Cryosurgery that uses liquid nitrogen
  • Radiation therapy
  • Electrosurgery
  • Curettage or scraping the cells away

If you have a large cancerous growth or if the area has edges that aren’t well-defined, you may need Mohs surgery. This procedure is time-consuming, but it’s often done for cases that have a high probability of recurrence. Your doctor may choose Mohs surgery for delicate locations, such as on or near your nose, ears, eyes, eyelids, forehead, scalp, fingers or genital area.

How to Minimize a Recurrence

The chance of this type of skin cancer coming back is high, often in a location close to the previous one. Areas such as your nose, ears and lips have a higher probability of recurrence within the first two years of your treatment. Being vigilant of your skin is the best course of action to catch it early.

Check yourself from head to toe to ensure you have no growths on your skin. It’s advisable to go to your dermatologist at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center for a professional skin exam every year, especially if you have a history of skin cancer — whether basal cell carcinoma, squamous cells carcinoma or melanoma. Contact the best clinic in Queens for a thorough exam, an accurate diagnosis and the most effective treatment.

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