The reason why everyone should be vigilant about examining their skin for changes in moles and other spots is to detect abnormalities, like skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, should be diagnosed and treated in its earliest stages. To confirm a diagnosis and get treatment for this very common cancer, see a board-certified and fellowship-trained dermatologist.
Learn more below about how a dermatologist determines a final diagnosis for suspected basal cell carcinoma.
What Is Basal Cell Carcinoma?
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most frequently occurring skin cancer. In fact, about 80 percent of confirmed skin cancer cases are basal cell carcinoma. Thankfully, it grows slowly and rarely spreads beyond the original site (sun-exposed areas, such as the forearms, back of the neck, and face). However, left untreated, basal cell carcinoma can destroy a fair amount of tissue in the epidermis, the uppermost layer of the skin.
People over the age of 40 should inspect their skin for new spots or changes in existing ones, such as moles, on a monthly basis. Look for any new spots or bumps or obvious differences in how a mole looks in terms of changing color, margins, shape, size, and symmetry. You should also see a dermatologist annually for in-office check-ups.
Basal cell carcinoma often looks like small, roundish bumps, pearl-like or pink in color. BCC may also develop as a scaly lesion that bleeds and crusts over repeatedly, never truly healing or disappearing.
How Dermatologists Diagnose BCC
There are a few steps your dermatologist will take to confirm a case of basal cell carcinoma:
- Visually inspecting the spot or bump and the areas surrounding it
- Reviewing your symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle
- Surgically removing the lesion and examining the tissue for the presence of cancer cells (biopsy)
When you see your skin doctor, be specific about when you noticed your skin lesion and how it may have changed in terms of color and texture. Also, tell the dermatologist if the bump or spot hurts, bleeds or flakes off only to return, and if you have previously had skin cancer or if it runs in your family. This information helps the doctor with the diagnosis and with planning treatment.
At Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center, our board-certified and fellowship-trained dermatologist, Dr. TJ Giuffrida, uses Mohs micrographic surgery to remove basal cell carcinomas. Done in stages, this precise and tissue-sparing method of skin cancer surgery has a low recurrence rate and limits suturing, pain, and scarring. It’s an outpatient procedure done with local anesthesia right at our surgery center.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment in Coral Gables, FL
To find out more about basal cell carcinomas, other skin cancers, and how you can protect your skin and overall health, contact Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center in Coral Gables, FL, at (305) 461-2000, or request your appointment online. Dr. Giuffrida and our team look forward to helping you achieve and maintain healthy skin.