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What is Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Find out if your symptoms could be the beginning stages of this serious skin lesion.

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 2.2 million Americans are diagnosed with basal cell carcinomas each year. Unfortunately, we’ve seen an increase in these forms of cancers over the years; however, basal cell carcinomas can be prevented with the proper preventive skin care and regular self-exams. Find out more about basal cell carcinomas, their symptoms and how your Chicago dermatologist treats this condition.

What is basal cell carcinoma?

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) are abnormal skin growths that are found on the deepest layer of the epidermis.

What are the warning signs of basal cell carcinoma?

Since basal cell carcinoma can also look like other noncancerous growths it’s important to see your Chicago dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. Most people with basal cell carcinoma will notice at least two or more of these characteristics:

  • The presence of an open, non-healing sore that may crust over, seep or bleed. This open sore will remain for weeks, after which it may start to heal only to bleed or ooze again.
  • A red, irritated patch of skin that may appear anywhere on the body, but particularly on the face, arms, legs or chest. Just like the sore, the patch may itch, crust over or be tender.
  • A shiny bump that is clear, pink, white or red. However, these nodules can also be brown or black, especially in those with dark hair.
  • An elevated pink growth that is crusted in the center and has a very distinguishable border. The growth may slowly grow over time and you may even see blood vessels appearing at the surface.
  • A scar-like spot that is waxy or white and an uneven surface. This is usually a sign of an invasive form of basal cell carcinoma that may be larger than it looks.

How is basal cell carcinoma treated?

After a patient has been diagnosed with BCC, there are several different treatment options available to them depending on the severity of their BCC. Mohs surgery is often one of the most common procedures performed on BCC. Under topical anesthesia, your Chicago dermatologist will remove cancerous layers of skin, check them under the microscope and continue to remove layers and examine them until no more cancerous tissue remains.

However, mohs surgery isn’t the best option for all cases. Curettage and electrodesiccation can be used for smaller BCC lesion, excisional surgery, cryosurgery, photodynamic therapy for nodular forms of BCC, laser surgery for superficial lesions and even topical medications can be used. Talk to your Chicago dermatologist about the best treatment for your condition.

If you are noticing skin changes or symptoms indicative of a basal cell carcinoma, it’s important to see your Chicago, IL dermatologist as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Call Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach at North Branch Dermatology, LLC today.

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