As the most common type of skin cancer and the most common type of cancer overall, basal cell carcinoma affects over 4 million Americans each year.
We can’t stress this enough, UV rays from the sun cause skin cancer, but these harmful UV rays are more likely to cause basal cell carcinoma (cancer of the basal cells of the skin) if you’re a man, are older than 50 years, and/or have fair skin and light eyes. The face, scalp, nose, eyelids, ears, arms, and legs are the most common places to have basal cell carcinoma.
Curious about basal cell carcinoma (BCC)? Let’s take a look at its types, stages, how it is diagnosed, and where you can go for its treatment in Coral Gables, Florida.
Types of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Cancer of the basal cells has four main types that are following:
- Nodular – As the most common type of BCC, nodular BCC appears as a round pimple surrounded by visible blood vessels.
- Superficial Spreading–Small, shallow marks on the skin that are lighter in color than the surrounding skin are signs of this type of BCC.
- Sclerosing – This type, which is more common on the face, causes cancerous lesions that look like a scar and slowly expand over time.
- Pigmented – As a rare type of BCC, this type causes the skin to become darker than the surrounding skin.
How Basal Cell Carcinoma is Diagnosed
A look at the appearance of the skin lesion is typically enough for a dermatologist to diagnose BCC. However, to confirm the diagnosis, they may do a complete physical exam as well assome tests.
Skin biopsy (a process to remove a piece of affected skin and examine it under the microscope) and imaging tests ( MRI or a CT scan if dermatologists suspect that cancer may have spread to internal organs or lymph nodes) are commonly performed to confirm the diagnosis as well as determine the stage of cancer.
You may also expect to answer some questions about the lesion’s appearance, size, and whether the lesion is painful or itchy.
Stages of Basal Cell Carcinoma
The stage of the BCC determines the type of treatment the patient needs. The stages of BCC depend on the size, malignancy, shape, and location of the lesion. The stages of BCC are as follows:
- Stage 0 – Only the original tumor and epidermis has cancerous cells.
- Stage 1 – Tumor is 2cm wide or smaller and may have spread into the dermis but not lymph nodes or organs.
- Stage 2 – The tumor is larger than 2cm and has spread to the dermis but no other organs or lymph nodes. Also, stage 2tumors have two or more factors that make them likely to spread further or return.
- Stage 3 – Cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes but no other organs.
- Stage 4 – Cancer has spread to several lymph nodes, other organs, or bones – and may be of any size.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Diagnosis and Treatment in Coral Gables, Florida
If you have BCC or are at risk for it, count on our board-certified dermatologist Dr. Theodore John “TJ” Giuffrida, who can provide exceptional care and the best possible outcomes for your skin issue. Our dermatologist will educate you about how you can self-examine yourself and what signs you should watch out for.
They may also provide surgical and nonoperative treatment for basal cell carcinoma and other skin cancers, depending on their stage.
Want to know more or make an appointment? Call us today at (305) 461-2000 or request your appointment online.